Monday, May 22, 2006


I YDouglas Coupland's writing. He helps me make sense of my world while constantly making me laugh out loud. Somehow, he gets it. Or, I get it. Either way, I can't guarantee that you will like his new book, jPod, as much as I do. But I still think you should read it.

The cover art is quite similar to these toys I have in my own cubicle at work. And while Microserfs inspired me with the haunting image of the flat foods that could be slipped under the office door during a meltdown, I didn't grow up and get my own office, which I usually only regret with thinking about individually wrapped slices of American cheese. The Cubes are just ironic enough to brighten my own desktop, most days anyway.

5 things

1. These characters actually make MORE references to the Simpsons than my own husband. Which I didn't know was possible. Admittedly, for any person born since 1970, the Simpsons have been on television for more than half of their life.

2. Within the first 35 pages, I had paused in reading to google the common name for C13H20N2O2.HCL, wished I had my old CS101 textbook handy to doublecheck ASCII codes, and find a french language translation tool. Catagorically, this book made me think more about mathematics than anything since my STAT 310 textbook, but was much more interesting and esoteric.

3. I started reading aloud the really great, relevant, insightful, hilarious parts to my husband, and 50 pages later he reminded me that he actually wants to read the book too.

4. Wikipedia tells us "Much of Coupland's work explores the unexpected cultural shifts created by the impact of new technologies on middle class North American culture. Persistent themes include the conflict between secular and religious values, ironic attitudes as a response to intense media saturation, and an aesthetic fascination with pop culture and mass culture."

5. Few books could better make me appreciate my own inner geek. Coupland does crazy things with the size and layout of the text on some pages. He doesn't just have his characters make references to things, he uses art to trigger the memories of the reader and involve them in the experience. It's a beautiful thing.


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