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(Not That You Asked): Rants, Exploits, and Obsessions

Almond, Steve Author

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In (Not that You Asked), Steve Almond documents a life spent brawling with the idiot kings of modern culture. He squares off against Sean Hannity on national TV, takes on Oprah Winfrey, nearly gets kidnapped by a reality TV crew, and winds up in Boston, where he quickly enrages the entire population of Red Sox Nation. Amid the carnage, he finds time to celebrate his literary hero, the late Kurt Vonnegut. These are essays the Los Angeles Times has called “rich, fearless [and] cutting.”

Praise for (Not that You Asked)

“Refreshingly irreverent . . . absurdly funny.”
–The Boston Globe

“[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)

“Taunting, revealing, irreverent, and earnest.”
–The New York Times

“Steve Almond has created a distinctive voice and literary persona. Pleasure-obsessed, self-deprecating, horny, hilarious and always dedicated to parsing the messy terrain of the human heart.”
–Forward.com

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Review:

(Not that You Asked): Rants, Exploits, and Obsessions is an Amazon Significant Seven selection for October 2007

An Exclusive Essay from Author Steve Almond

Steve Almond is obsessed. He first offered the world a peek into his fixations in My Life in Heavy Metal, a collection of short stories throbbing with hookups, drunken kisses, failed passes, souring relationships, and, naturally, heavy metal. But Almond forever chewed the hard chocolate shell from his creamy inner obsessive with 2004's Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America--a sort of On the Road for the sugar set, documenting an epic journey through America's confectionary highways and backroads. Almond is back with (Not that You Asked): Rants, Exploits, and Obsessions, a collection of autobiographical pieces covering topics as diverse as Oprah Winfrey, Kurt Vonnegut, sexual failure, and the many varieties of shame. We asked Almond just what it is about obsession that drives his work, as well is its intrinsic value in all art--low and high. --Jon Foro



The Obsession Engine
Why House of Rock with Bret Michaels could be your next novel. Or not.

By Steve Almond

A close friend of mine – who may or may not be my wife – recently fell in love with the VH-1 reality series House of Rock. For those of you who are not hip to its charms, HoR stars Bret Michaels, the former lead singer of Poison, and a gaggle of women vying to become his soul mate. I hope you will not be shocked to learn that several of these potential soul mates are strippers. Nor do all of them appear to be virgins.

My friend insists that her interest in the program is purely anthropological. But I happen to know that she spent a good portion of her adolescence listening to Eighties hair metal bands and dreaming about bedding dudes like Bret Michaels and even working, briefly, as a waitress in a topless bar. She comes by her obsession naturally, is my point.

The longer I read and write, the more I come to view obsession as the essential engine of literature. I am not suggesting that my wife, er, friend should write a novel about House of Rock. (The series is, by her own description, a kind of pulp novel already--histrionic, predictable, crushingly squalid.) What I’m suggesting is that her allegiance to the program identifies essential fears and desires within her, ones which embarrass her quite robustly and therefore belong in the novel she hopes to write.

To take this a step further: I’m not interested in writing that isn’t obsessive. Who is? We’re all drama queens in the end. We all come to stories with two basic questions: Who do I care about? And What do they care about? As long as our hero, or heroine, cares deeply about something (i.e. is obsessed), and as long as they’re willing to tell us their own twisted version of the truth, we’ll come along for the ride.

Don’t believe me? Let me call to the stand my star witness, Humbert Humbert. Read more...

About the Author:

Steve Almond is the author of the story collections My Life in Heavy Metal and The Evil B.B. Chow, the nonfiction book Candyfreak, and the novel Which Brings Me to You, co-written with Julianna Baggott. He lives outside Boston with his wife, Erin, and daughter, Josephine, whom he cannot stop kissing. Visit the author at www.stevenalmond.com.

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Book Description Random House Publishing Group, United Kingdom, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 201 x 130 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. In (Not that You Asked), Steve Almond documents a life spent brawling with the idiot kings of modern culture. He squares off against Sean Hannity on national TV, takes on Oprah Winfrey, nearly gets kidnapped by a reality TV crew, and winds up in Boston, where he quickly enrages the entire population of Red Sox Nation. Amid the carnage, he finds time to celebrate his literary hero, the late Kurt Vonnegut. These are essays the Los Angeles Times has called rich, fearless [and] cutting. Praise for (Not that You Asked) Refreshingly irreverent . . . absurdly funny. -The Boston Globe [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) Taunting, revealing, irreverent, and earnest. -The New York Times Steve Almond has created a distinctive voice and literary persona. Pleasure-obsessed, self-deprecating, horny, hilarious and always dedicated to parsing the messy terrain of the human heart. Bookseller Inventory # AAE9780812977592

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Book Description Random House Publishing Group, United Kingdom, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 201 x 130 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. In (Not that You Asked), Steve Almond documents a life spent brawling with the idiot kings of modern culture. He squares off against Sean Hannity on national TV, takes on Oprah Winfrey, nearly gets kidnapped by a reality TV crew, and winds up in Boston, where he quickly enrages the entire population of Red Sox Nation. Amid the carnage, he finds time to celebrate his literary hero, the late Kurt Vonnegut. These are essays the Los Angeles Times has called rich, fearless [and] cutting. Praise for (Not that You Asked) Refreshingly irreverent . . . absurdly funny. -The Boston Globe [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) Taunting, revealing, irreverent, and earnest. -The New York Times Steve Almond has created a distinctive voice and literary persona. Pleasure-obsessed, self-deprecating, horny, hilarious and always dedicated to parsing the messy terrain of the human heart. Bookseller Inventory # AAE9780812977592

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