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The Other Serious

Essays for the New American Generation

About the Book

An original collection of incandescent cultural criticism, both experimental and personal, full of pragmatic advice for how to live a considered, joyful existence in our era of screen living and hipster irony, by a Gen-X Princeton professor and contributor to The New York Times

The essays in The Other Serious examine the signature phenomena of our moment: the way our lives contradict themselves, how exaggeration and excess seep into our collective subconscious, why gender is becoming more rather than less complicated, and how we interact with the material things that surround us. It is a book about the delicacy and bluntness of American life, about how pop culture sticks its finger deeply into the ethical dilemmas of our time, and how to negotiate between the old and the new, the high and the low, the global and the local, the sacred and the profane. At the heart of these reflections lies a central question: What should you do when you don't know what to do?

Taken together, these essays comprise a guide for the overhaul of "the administrativersity" of contemporary American life, a bureaucratic prison where the brain needn't work anymore. These pieces investigate the writer's own way of thinking—putting forth new ideas, questioning them, and urging the reader to adopt the same spirit of critical reexamination.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“Like having a late-night talk with a good, advice-ready friend.… [It] will compel you to look at your own behaviors.” —Chicago Tribune

“Few essay collections are as experimental, personal, or full of pragmatic advice on how to navigate contemporary culture.” —

“Fascinating.... Equal parts pop culture, self-help, and philosophy, Wampole’s musings consider the gray areas of American life....Weighty yet entertaining.” —Booklist

“Wampole is a sharp and original observer. Her essays crackle with metaphor and precision…. This is essential for anyone who cares about the future of America.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“Christy Wampole has a nimble mind and a big heart...Reading The Other Serious is like going for a long walk on a clear cold day - everything feels challenging and electric, tingling with clarity, full of possibility.” —Leslie Jamison

“Her astute cultural criticism brings new light to topics I find myself obsessed with.” —Michele Filgate, Salon

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062320353
  • ISBN 10: 0062320351
  • Imprint: Harper
  • On Sale: 07/07/2015
  • Pages: 256
  • List Price: 31.99 CAD
  • BISAC3: SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture

The Other Serious by Christy Wampole

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