“This is so stupid,” you tell your best work friend over gchat. “Why does anyone read these posts? It’s just glossy pictures of icing and domesticity porn.” Your friend does not respond. “Do you want to get lunch,” you write. Still no response. Seven minutes later: “Most of her recipes are just stolen from somewhere else. They’re not even original.” Your friend’s status changes to Busy. An hour later, you will see her at the Panera Bread down the hill from your office park with two coworkers you don’t know.
9. The Memoirist Who Is Your Age And Whose Life Eerily Parallels Yours
“Nobody should write a memoir before they’re fifty,” you announce to your friends over drinks. You are not fifty. “Everyone seems to think being 27 and unhappy in love is all you need to write a book about your life. You should have to get licensed before you can write one.” You are on your fourth glass of wine. It is Tuesday. “You should have to–be Gore Vidal, or a cultural attaché, or have invented genocide or something.” You spilled a little bit of your wine during that last remark, but it has landed on your napkin and you don’t think anyone noticed.
You have never been asked to write a memoir, but you would immediately if anyone seemed interested.
8. The Literary Short Story Author Who Pretended He Had Never Met You Before Once At A Party Even Though You Absolutely Did
It didn’t sell that many copies, you heard. You don’t know who you heard it from, or how they would know, but it definitely didn’t sell that many copies. And you two had definitely met before, so you don’t know what his whole thing was about, pretending you hadn’t.
7. The Unfunny Bro With The Unfunny Gimmick Book About Punching Mustaches Or Doing Something Stupid For A Year Whose Author Picture Is Smirking At The Reader As If To Say “Can You Believe It?” Which Is Really A Level Of Self-Awareness You Have Not Earned, Pal
Something about kicking robots, or which president had the most balls, or whatever. You reflexively sneer whenever you see it in a bookstore’s window display, which is often. It’s selling really well.
6. Oh Come Right The Fuck On, Nobody Read That
It was dystopian, or something? But not YA. Nobody read it. You refuse to believe anyone actually read it. It was so weird. It was unbelievably short. “A slim novel,” the reviews said. “A slim novel of surprising”…deftness or something. Slim novels are always deft, and powerful, like Joss Whedon heroines.
5. That One Poet Who’s Kind of Making A Living. Do You Know How Many Fucking Words His Fucking Book Has? Like Thirty. He Wrote Thirty Words About A Pond And Won An Award.
“Oh,” you say vaguely when his name comes up in conversation, which is never quite as often as you hope it will. “Him. I don’t know, guys. I’ve heard some stuff about him that if you knew…I don’t think you’d be able to think of him in the same way.” When pressed, you refuse to give further details. “It’s really not my story to tell. I really can’t talk about it.” Still, you never fail to bring it up.
4. His Fucking Dad Has Written Four Bestsellers, He Was Probably Born With An Agent
No, good for him, though. Good for him. Everyone in that family has a book deal, and everyone you know hates them. “He’s actually unbelievably nice,” your one friend who works in publishing and who has actually met him tries to tell you. You have never read any of his books.
3. The Woman With The World’s Last Tumblr-To-Book-Deal
Fine, you know? No, it’s great. You could have come up with the same joke (because the entire book is one joke retold in 85 different ways, not that anyone cares, apparently, because they’re carrying it at Urban Outfitters, which by the way is not a place for books, you don’t buy shoes at Trader Joe’s and you don’t buy books at clothing stores) in, oh, ten minutes, but that’s really great that she managed to spin that thin a premise into a successful personal brand.
Actually it would be kind of amazing, if Trader Joe’s sold shoes. Like TOMS, kind of, but good. That’s a really good idea. You should tell someone that idea.
2. The Writer of the “Unflinching” Debut
400 pages about an unrelenting total fucking bummer. Oh, the drug addictions. Oh, the horrible, grinding poverty as a four-year-old child soldier of fortune/undersea mine welder/burn victim. Oh, the meaningless and tawdry and horrifying sex. No one makes eye contact. Everyone attends horrifically tense dinner parties and throw their lovers out of ninth-story walkups. You wish it would flinch, even just once.
1. Everyone, everyone
“What books do you like, then,” someone you don’t know well asks you. You laugh in a way that suggests he should consider it an embarrassingly incredibly pedestrian and naïve question. “What books do I like?” you ask, stalling for time. “That’s a good one.” You laugh again.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.