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Sexy Salman

Q: What’s the worst book you’ve ever read? 
A: “Midnight’s Children.” I started it but found it impossible. A quarter of the way through, I didn’t know if the bird was a bird, or a shadow; or if I was in a lake, or on a lake; or in a boat, or if I was a ghost or if I was even in India. It was the first book I never finished, and the beginning of a bad habit of not finishing books I don’t understand. I know how revered Salman Rushdie is as an author and a sex symbol, but I mean, come on.  

– the surprisingly well-read & very funny Chelsea Handler in this week’s By the Book column in the NY Times.  

Midnight‘s been sitting on my own shelf, un-read, for years. No reason, really, other than blind intimidation. And there’s nothing wrong with not finishing books – especially the ones you don’t understand.

I never thought I would be endorsing anything Chelsea said or did – I’ve never thought her trashy comedic style was funny at all & her TV show makes me feel a little sick. When she visited a store I worked for a few years ago, she showed up half in the bag & drank a gigantic vodka something-or-other on the back patio before her book signing. Kind of a train wreck. But hell, her short interview in the Times is pretty great – she’s very funny & shockingly literate. (Although there is an Ayn Rand mention.) I like that she just calls out Rushdie and his universally praised book for being this obnoxious, high-brow tripe. Maybe vodka is the key…

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One comment on “Sexy Salman

  1. Ted Burke
    March 12, 2014

    Chelsea is someone I like just because she calls bullshit in places where there ought not be any visible controversy, as in the recent verbal dust up during a live interview between her and the irrepressibly boorish Piers Morgan. “You're a terrible interviewer” she told him on live air, to which Morgan allowed his mouth to gape to utter only a stunned “wow…” So I'm not surprised that she dislikes Rushdie, to a degree; I think he can be a brilliant writer at times, but that his post-modernisms and genre-jumping tactics to more like gestures to the smart crowd rather than the engaged investigations of a restless imagination. He is not as much fun as Tom Robbins, less smart that Vonnegut, less incidently incisive to the zietgeist than DeLillo, less lacerating than Vidal. He has his avid defenders, absolutely, and I understand, I have found much of his writing simply terrific; I do think, though, that he does what he does with too much of the wink and the nod.

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This entry was posted on March 2, 2014 by in http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Salman Rushdie.
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