Title: Very Recent History: An Entirely Factual Account of a Year (c. AD 2009) in a Large City
Author: Choire Sicha
Release Date: August 6, 2013
Acquired Via: TLC Book Tours
What will the future make of us?
In one of the greatest cities in the world, the richest man in town is the Mayor. Billionaires shed apartments like last season's fashion trends, even as the country's economy turns inside out and workers are expelled from the City's glass towers. The young and careless go on as they always have, getting laid and getting laid off, falling in and falling out of love, and trying to navigate the strange world they traffic in: the Internet, complex financial markets, credit cards, pop stars, microplane cheese graters, and sex apps.
A true-life fable of money, sex, and politics, Very Recent History follows a man named John and his circle of friends, lovers, and enemies. It is a book that pieces together our every day, as if it were already forgotten.
Welcome to this week's edition of "When Good Books Go Bad" featuring Very Recent History: An Entirely Factual Account of a Year (c. AD 2009) in a Large City by Choire Sicha. Yes, that is a bit harsh, but disappointing books are disappointing, and this one really didn't work for me. I enjoy the occasional bit of non-fiction and history is my favorite thing ever, and I was super duper excited to get my hands on Very Recent History. So where did it go wrong?
When I started Very Recent History, I was grinning like an idiot because I was sucked in from the first page. (Seriously, my boyfriend actually took interest in what I was reading for about 17 seconds.) The writing style is clipped and very funny. I could easily imagine it as something that Ford Prefect would write about New York City for other aliens around the universe to read. (I have no problem at all comparing Sicha's writing style to that of Douglas Adams because it is quite good - just no sci-fi.) Anywho, it was quirky and cute, and it kept me smiling for the first fifty pages or so.
Unfortunately it seems, good things cannot last. Where the quirkiness of Very Recent History was endearing at first, it began to get a little tedious. I enjoyed being treated like a non-human visitor doing research on one of Earth's largest cities at first, but it got boring after a while. Dental work, denim jeans, sex, marriage, venereal disease, and the landscape in the city were described in great detail as if the reader had never read about such things before. Again, I grant that it was funny. However, it distracted me from what Sicha was using this style to say. I started to think about other things I could be doing instead of reading - like cleaning house. (That's how I knew it was time to stop.)
Although I quit reading early on in the book, I still appreciate what Sicha was doing with Very Recent History. Though the book was not for me, I recommend it to anyone who likes quirky non-fiction and/or Douglas Adams.
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About the Author
Choire Sicha is the coproprietor of The Awl. A two-time editor of Gawker, he has written for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times as well as a suspiciously large number of magazines exactly one time. He lives in Brooklyn.
You can find Choire on Twitter.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a copy of the novel from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for an unbiased review. It has in no way affected the outcome. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and courtesy of me.