I generally don'tÂ go toÂ the kind ofÂ gatherings where I might be asked for my opinion of Philip Roth's new book, Everyman -- I mean, I spent my weekend at Six Flags -- but, as I'm sure to be hanging out with my absurdly overeducated in-laws this summer, I thought I ought to prepare for such a question. Rather than, y'know, actually read the book, I came up with several strategies:
1. Announce that the book "is a great focal point for a broader discussion of Roth and his place in American literature," then whip out my iPod and portable speakers and play said discussion, available from Slate.
2. Sigh gently and say, "Well, it's alright, but I'm a purist at heart, so IÂ really prefer Portnoy's Complaint. It's so much more than a literary cocktail of sex and humor," then take a sip of my actual cocktail while continuing to recite from the article on Portnoy from mental_floss' Jan/Feb issue.
3. Sigh gently and say, "Well, it's alright, but I'm 27, so I really prefer Behind Everyman. The title may be similar but the work itself is so much more relevant to my generation," then take a sip of my cocktail while casually mentioning that I blog with the author.
Next: I try to get a position on the New York Review of Books.