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Telegraph Avenue: The Finishening

So ends the month-long readalong of Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue. And look, the basic question should just be wrapped up here — should you read this or not? And the answer is yeah. Yeah, you should read it.

I believe we've discussed the shiny, shiny red cover, which'll just look nice on a bookcase. Really brightens up the place.

Basically this book takes subjects I don't really care about — jazz, blaxploitation films, midwifery — and made me care about them. Not forever and for always, but while I read. Which is damned impressive. This was my first Chabon. I'd suspected I wouldn't like him too much, and while he does verge on the I'm a Sensitive White Guy side of things, he's an excellent, awesome author and I'm totally checking out more of his books.

Titus? Love. Gwen? I tolerate. Julie? Aw, Julie. Luther Stallings? That guy's great. Y'know, to read about. Probably not to actually know.

Damn, I want pie. I'm writing this in my room and I ate some sugar cream pie in here yesterday and the scent LINGERS, which is a hell of a lot better than some other scents that could linger, but still. I am sitting here with nary a pie shop in sight. Let's move on.

Very few things make me nostalgic (in that way you can be nostalgic for something you never lived through) for the '60s and '70s. I tend to think of them as times of orange and brown shag carpet, hippies contributing nothing to the world, and having a basic appreciation of Star Wars, but without the excellence yet of 1980's Empire Strikes Back.

But this makes me want to go to maybe 1977 and eat a giant Dream of Cream cake, go see a Luther Stallings film and say "Do what you gotta do. And stay fly" to my friends, possibly (probably) while drunk. Hopefully on some gross '70s drink.

There's a definite feel that encompasses the whole book and made me excited to go back to reading it. While all the characters at some point act in ways you might disagree with, they're still all compelling characters. I rarely found myself disappointed when the scene flipped to someone else, because that new character's arc was just as interesting.

It's even a story about men with FATHER ISSUES and I liked it. Do you know how much I hate father issues? I HATE THEM SO MUCH. Why? Because every sensitive guy who decides to write a screenplay or novel seems, at some point, to want to talk about how he and his dad don't get each other. WOW do I not care. So if you're able to take your father issue storyline and somehow make it not suck, I am impressed. Michael Chabon, I tip my non-existent hat to you (my head's kinda big and it's hard to find hats that fit).

You all should read Telegraph Avenue if you like inter-generational stories that involve sassy short skirts and parrots and kung fu.

You can totes pre-order it (OUT SEPTEMBER 12TH, PEOPLE) heeeeeeere at Odyssey Books, which would be mega-awesome since you'd be helping Emily's store, which I've NEVER visited, because it's in Massachusetts, but I'll bet it's awesome because 1) Emily and 2) MASSACHUSETTS. Land of John Adams and that part of the country where there used to be farmers who looked like this:

Which is exciting. Or you could buy from IndieBound, or wherevs except that massive retailer that is like a billion times worse than Fox Books in You've Got Mail, because NO TOM HANKS and you're driving Meg Ryan's super-cute bookstore out of business like 50 times over. FIFTY MEG RYANS. Omg how can you even stand it. Buy from the Massachusetts Farmer Man. How else are his children going to survive the winter.


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