by Steve Almond
(Not that You Asked): Rants, Exploits, and Obsessions

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How does Steve Almond get himself into so much trouble? Could it be his incessant moralizing? His generally poor posture? The fact that he was raised by a pack of wolves? Frankly, we haven’t got a clue. What we do know is that Almond has a knack for converting his dustups into essays that are both funny and furious. In (Not that You Asked), he squares off against Sean Hannity on national TV, nearly gets arrested for stealing “Sta-Hard” gel from his local pharmacy, and winds up in Boston, where he quickly enrages the entire population of the Red Sox Nation. Almond is, as they say in Yiddish, a tummler.

Almond on personal grooming: “Why, exactly, did I feel it would be ‘sexy’ and ‘hot’ to have my girlfriend wax my chest? I can offer no good answer to this question today. I could offer no good answer at the time.”
On sports: “To be a fan is to live in a condition of willed helplessness. We are (for the most part) men who sit around and watch other men run and leap and sweat and grapple each other. It is a deeply homoerotic pattern of conduct, often interracial in nature, and essentially humiliating.”
On popular culture: “I have never actually owned a TV, a fact I mention whenever possible, in the hopes that it will make me seem noble and possibly lead to oral sex.”
On his literary hero, Kurt Vonnegut: “His books perform the greatest feat of alchemy known to man: the conversion of grief into laughter by means of courageous imagination.”
On religion: “Every year, when Chanukah season rolled around, my brothers and I would make the suburban pilgrimage to the home of our grandparents, where we would ring in the holiday with a big, juicy Chanukah ham.”

The essays in (Not that You Asked) will make you laugh out loud, or, maybe just as likely, hurl the book across the room. Either way, you’ll find Steve Almond savagely entertaining. Not that you asked.

“A pop-culture-saturated intellectual, a kindly grouch, vitriolic Boston Red Sox hater, neurotic new father and Kurt Vonnegut fanatic… [Almond] scores big in every chapter of this must-have collection. Biting humor, honesty, smarts and heart: Vonnegut himself would have been proud.”
—— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

From the Hardcover edition.

About Steve Almond

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Steve Almond has published over one hundred stories and poems--in publications ranging from "Playboy" to "Tin House" to "Zoetrope"--and a two previous collections of stories, "My Life in Heavy Metal" and "The Evil B.B. Chow". He is the author of the bestselling novel "Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America". Julianna Baggott received her M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1994, where she held a Greensboro Scholar Fellowship. In 1998 and 1999, she placed nearly forty poems and short stories in such magazines as Poetry, The Southern Review, Crab Orchard Review, and Indiana Review. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Delaware Division of Arts and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Ragdale Foundation. Winner of the Eyster Prize for Fiction in 1998, her manuscript of poems was a 1999 finalist in Breadloaf's first-book prize. She lives in Newark, Delaware with her husband, poet David G. W. Scott, and their three children. Girl Talk is her first novel.
Published September 11, 2007 by Random House. 306 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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So it goes.” That being the case, it’s little surprise that the chapter on Vonnegut is the collection’s deepest and most thoughtful, especially notable for its priceless recounting of a literary panel/smackdown featuring a crusty Vonnegut, a hostile Joyce Carol Oates and a vapid Jennifer Weiner (...

Sep 18 2007 | Read Full Review of (Not that You Asked): Rants, ...

Project MUSE

I recommend first reading Almond's description of how he tried to prepare himself to respond "when Hannity accused me of being a satanic pornographer" and then googling the Fox News segment to watch Almond keep his cool and actually get to utter the words "I believe that public officials shouldn'...

| Read Full Review of (Not that You Asked): Rants, ...

Sycamore Reviews

But best of all is a beautiful and angry essay on The Failed Prophecy of Kurt Vonnegut (and How It Saved My Life), a look at Vonnegut's career-long concern over whether mankind would survive its own despicable conduct that serves as a summation of Almond's personal and literary ethos.

Dec 02 2007 | Read Full Review of (Not that You Asked): Rants, ...

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