extribulum

Here’s your problem, here’s your book

In Uncategorized on January 29, 2013 at 9:00 am

Cary Tennis — well, for a start, CARY TENNIS is an awesome name — Cary Tennis is an advice-column writer for Salon.com. I don’t read Salon generally, but a specific letter was linked by Publisher’s Weekly and looked scandalously interesting, so I followed the trail.

The title of the letter to Cary was “I Am Named In A Terrible Book“. It sounds more interesting than it is, to be honest, but if you want to read it for yourself, feel free. I wasn’t even that interested by Cary’s reply, until I skimmed to the end:

As an antidote, I prescribe “Pale Fire” by Vladimir Nabokov. This fine tonic will remove the taste of aesthetic badness and also provide a little of the bracing, acerbic hilarity needed to fully recover.

I do love Pale Fire. But what struck me was the idea of an advice columnist that gave you required reading. How great would that job be? You’d have to read a lot of  books, but that’s not exactly a chore. Imagine every week your column runs a (usually banal and easily-solved-by-common-sense) problem, and you provide advice and the name of a book they should read for more context. Ill-mannered family member? The Moonstone. Your child running around with kids you don’t approve of? Well, I suppose it could go either way, like, you could recommend The Outsiders on one end of the spectrum and maybe Harry Potter on the other.

Not sure if you want to get back with your controlling ex? Twilight!

Literary criticism and sound advice all in one place. I’m for it.

Edited on 2/4/2013: Oh snap. VINDICATED.

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