Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Recommended for Culture, Human Interest, and Biography Buffs

Self-Made Man by Norah Vincent

I was zoning (read: orgainizing) the biography section in the store one day and came upon this book. A lot of times, that's how we booksellers get sucked into books. Something looks interesting and we pick it up and before we know it, we're adding it to our mental list of "Books I Need To Read." Nevermind that the list is already hundreds of books long (most of which we eventually forget about at some point). But this one I did finally read and found to be thoroughly interesting. Norah Vincent conjures up a convincing man-counterpart (from the walk to the talk to the fake cash and prizes in the pants). From there she goes on a journey, slipping into man-saturated areas of life: bowling alleys, strip joints, door-to-door salesmen, and even a monastary. For over a year and a half she was Ned, experiencing life as a man, even dating women to see what it was like on the other side. Within her writings, she tries not to make too many assumptions, or at least, press her opinions on anyone, but rather does her best to report what she discovers within the world of men.

A real eye-opener and a fascinating read for both men and women, her experience eventually led to a minor breakdown, which led to the inspiration (if one could call it that) for her next book, Voluntary Madness, a book that is, of course, on my mental reading list. Except this one is near the top so it doesn't get lost.

Notes from the playlist: "Bonebreaker" by Infidel Incorportated

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