More from author
“Powerful...an important read." —Publishers Weekly
New York Times bestselling author Steve Almond takes on America’s biggest sacred cow: football
In Against Football, Steve Almond details why, after forty years as a fan, he can no longer watch the game he still loves. Using a synthesis of memoir, reportage, and cultural critique, Almond asks a series of provocative questions:
• Does our addiction to football foster a tolerance for violence, greed, racism, and homophobia?
• What does it mean that our society has transmuted the intuitive physical joys of childhood—run, leap, throw, tackle—into a billion-dollar industry?
• How did a sport that causes brain damage become such an important emblem for our institutions of higher learning?
There has never been a book that exposes the dark underside of America’s favorite game with such searing candor.
Steve Almond certainly does. In fact, he was so obsessed by the inexplicable disappearance of these bars—where'd they go?—that he embarked on a nationwide journey to uncover the truth about the candy business. There, he found an industry ruled by huge conglomerates, where the little guys, the last remaining link to the glorious boom years of the candy bar in America, struggle to survive.
Visiting the candy factories that produce the Twin Bing, the Idaho Spud, the Goo Goo Cluster, the Valomilk, and a dozen other quirky bars, Almond finds that the world of candy is no longer a sweet haven. Today's precious few regional candy makers mount daily battles against corporate greed, paranoia, and that good old American compulsion: crushing the little guy.
Part candy porn, part candy polemic, part social history, part confession, Candyfreak explores the role candy plays in our lives as both source of pleasure and escape from pain. By turns ecstatic, comic, and bittersweet, Candyfreak is the story of how Steve Almond grew up on candy—and how, for better and worse, candy has grown up, too.
Almond on personal grooming: “Why, exactly, did I feel it would be ‘sexy’ and ‘hot’ to have my girlfriend wax my chest? I can offer no good answer to this question today. I could offer no good answer at the time.”
On sports: “To be a fan is to live in a condition of willed helplessness. We are (for the most part) men who sit around and watch other men run and leap and sweat and grapple each other. It is a deeply homoerotic pattern of conduct, often interracial in nature, and essentially humiliating.”
On popular culture: “I have never actually owned a TV, a fact I mention whenever possible, in the hopes that it will make me seem noble and possibly lead to oral sex.”
On his literary hero, Kurt Vonnegut: “His books perform the greatest feat of alchemy known to man: the conversion of grief into laughter by means of courageous imagination.”
On religion: “Every year, when Chanukah season rolled around, my brothers and I would make the suburban pilgrimage to the home of our grandparents, where we would ring in the holiday with a big, juicy Chanukah ham.”
The essays in (Not that You Asked) will make you laugh out loud, or, maybe just as likely, hurl the book across the room. Either way, you’ll find Steve Almond savagely entertaining. Not that you asked.
“A pop-culture-saturated intellectual, a kindly grouch, vitriolic Boston Red Sox hater, neurotic new father and Kurt Vonnegut fanatic… [Almond] scores big in every chapter of this must-have collection. Biting humor, honesty, smarts and heart: Vonnegut himself would have been proud.”
—— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
From the Hardcover edition.
With a life that’s spanned the phonographic era and the digital age, Steve Almond lives to Rawk. Like you, he’s secretly longed to live the life of a rock star, complete with insane talent, famous friends, and hotel rooms to be trashed. Also like you, he’s content (sort of) to live the life of a rabid fan, one who has converted his unrequited desires into a (sort of) noble obsession.
Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life traces Almond’s passion from his earliest (and most wretched) rock criticism to his eventual discovery of a music-crazed soul mate and their subsequent production of two little superfans. Along the way, Almond reflects on the delusional power of songs, the awkward mating habits of drooling fanatics, and why Depression Songs actually make us feel so much better. The book also includes:
• sometimes drunken interviews with America’s finest songwriters
• a recap of the author’s terrifying visit to Graceland while stoned
• a vigorous and credibility-shattering endorsement of Styx’s Paradise Theater
• recommendations you will often choose to ignore
• a reluctant exegesis of the Toto song “Africa”
• obnoxious lists sure to piss off rock critics
But wait, there’s more. Readers will also be able to listen to a special free mix designed by the author, available online at www.stevenalmond.com, for the express purpose of eliciting your drool. For those about to rock—we salute you!
From the Hardcover edition.
Esta ingeniosa novela epistolar empieza con dos extraños metiéndose mano en el guardarropía de la recepción de bodas de unos amigos y acaba con el principio de una relación. Jane y John, treintañeros ambos, mantienen un intercambio de confesiones a la que se han comprometido antes de rendirse a la lujuria. Hablan de sus experiencias sexuales y de los amores del pasado porque los dos se arrepienten de muchas cosas. Son en palabras de Jane "dos románticos de segunda", duros pero susceptibles. Para cuando Jane y John se encuentran de nuevo en una estación de tren abandonada pero encantadora, ya nos sabemos todas sus historias. Un sentido del humor ácido, buenas observaciones sobre la psique humana y el amor romántico en estos días traspasan cada una de las historias.