Ditch the Lit Fic
It’s September 1st. Can you believe it? The hot breath of summer whooshed by like a bus full of hipsters coming home from Ft Tilden. Soon thousands of readers will scuttle their beach reads in favor of prestigious doorstops and slim, ponderous volumes recommended by eggheads in magazines. The seasonal cultural elevation of our country’s most precocious readers is natural and inevitable as the autumnal waning of daylight. In some ways it makes sense, fall brings out deep thoughts about loss, regret and mortality that scrape against our consciousness like so many dry leaves across pavement. In other ways it does not: does the crisp air and earlier sunset really make the new Dave Eggers as satisfying as, say, The Girl on the Train? What deep insights are you looking to gleam from Nathan Hill’s The Nix that you couldn’t gather from, a dozen Steven King novels or even, say, Reprisal from F. Paul Wilson? Speaking of authors riding Pynchon’s coattails to lit fic glory, you’ll probably see plenty of people reading Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, a book that imagines the Underground Railroad as… an actual subterranean railway, this fall.
I can’t think of a single reason to read these middle brow novels unless you’re looking to impress someone across from you on the subway, and even then, Dave Eggers impresses no one these days except maybe the smarmy turds who still insist on sharing that ‘Decorative Gourd Season’ McSweeny’s bit every October. Do yourself a favor this fall and read some trash.