Who went to Elif Batuman's reading last week? She was hilarious, yes? And so smart! We had planned on writing some sort of very witty and scintillating and erudite review of The Possessed but a lot of people already beat us to that, and we realized that the reason we wanted to write a witty and scintillating and erudite review was to show off our delightfulness, in the hopes that Ms. Batuman would someday come across it and realize that, obscure random blogger though we may be, we are clearly destined to BE HER NEW BEST FRIEND. So! Dear Elif Batuman, instead of a review of your book, which is so funny it made us cry in places (and which ALL OF THE AUTHOR-FRIENDS SHOULD GO BUY RIGHT THIS SECOND FROM THEIR FAVORITE LOCAL INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE OR ONLINE HERE IF YOU ARE SO UNFORTUNATE AS TO NOT HAVE A LOCAL INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE), here are SIX EXCELLENT REASONS why you should be our #1 friend.
1. Exchange of Anecdotes. You can tell us wacky stories about graduate school and we will tell you wacky stories about the things we did instead of going to graduate school, including but not limited to dropping out of college and running away with a circus (100% true!), bicycling across two continents by ourself, and roadie-ing (sp?) for punk bands DON'T THOSE SOUND LIKE EXCITING STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE TO BE TOLD (confidential to the New Yorker: should you wish to complement Ms. Batuman's essays with convivial musings by our person, we shall be happy to oblige you for a small fee, and we are more entertaining than Malcom "Snoresgasbord" Gladwell, that is for sure).
2. Anna Karenina. OMG, Elif Batuman, you already know this, but AK is like the best book ever, that scene where Levin brings in the harvest with the peasants makes us weep (WHAT DO YOU MEAN you have not read Anna Karenina, Author-friends? WTF is wrong with you? GO READ IT NOW! It's shorter than Twilight and 9,875% less stupid!) and it is all so transcendent! and rapturous! and magical! and uplifting! and tragic! So anyway we could talk about AK all the time and drink coffees and look very intelligent in a café of your choice, on either coast, and maybe someone will put us in a movie.
3. Tutoring. You can teach us things in Russian, and we will teach you how to say "My cat is an excellent animal and I adore posting videos of him on my charming blog" in French. Ummm, maybe you speak French already, what with having a doctorate in comparative literature from Stanford, but we will teach it to you with a certain je ne sais quoi that is irreplaceable.
4. Able-Bodied Assistance. If you ever needed someone to carry your suitcases to your readings we are very strong and uncomplaining and we could do that, and bring you snacks afterward like a good best friend, and we will quietly remove any very agitated Russian ladies in the audience who are going on about wildly obscure Russian writers for ten minutes and picking fights with other excitable Russian audience members and shouting things like "Stalin wasn't RUSSIAN he was SOVIET" while you sit being very patient and gracious.
5. Despair in the Face of Depravity and Mediocrity. We also find Vice Magazine to be quite horrifying, which you are diplomatic enough not to say outright, but a good best friend can read between the lines.
6. Flexibility and Innovation. If these are not enough good reasons WE WILL MAKE MORE WE ARE VERY SERIOUS ABOUT THIS PROPOSAL we can send you cookies! write zines about your book! make you a poster! you just ask!!!!!