Arbitrary Stupid Goal by Tamara Shopsin

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Shopsin, a graphic designer, illustrator, and part-time cook in her family's eponymous New York restaurant, has concocted a refreshingly quirky, non-linear memoir about her unconventional upbringing in and around what was then her parents' old-fashioned corner grocery store in Greenwich Village.
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Synopsis

Arbitrary Stupid Goal is a completely riveting world—when I looked up from its pages regular life seemed boring and safe and modern like one big iPhone. This book captures not just a lost New York but a whole lost way of life.” —Miranda July

In Arbitrary Stupid Goal, Tamara Shopsin takes the reader on a pointillist time-travel trip to the Greenwich Village of her bohemian 1970s childhood, a funky, tight-knit small town in the big city, long before Sex and the City tours and luxury condos. The center of Tamara’s universe is Shopsin’s, her family’s legendary greasy spoon, aka “The Store,” run by her inimitable dad, Kenny—a loquacious, contrary, huge-hearted man who, aside from dishing up New York’s best egg salad on rye, is Village sheriff, philosopher, and fixer all at once. All comers find a place at Shopsin’s table and feast on Kenny’s tall tales and trenchant advice along with the incomparable chili con carne.

Filled with clever illustrations and witty, nostalgic photographs and graphics, and told in a sly, elliptical narrative that is both hilarious and endearing, Arbitrary Stupid Goal is an offbeat memory-book mosaic about the secrets of living an unconventional life, which is becoming a forgotten art.

 

About Tamara Shopsin

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Tamara Shopsin is a graphic designer and illustrator whose work has been featured in The New York Times, Good, Time, Wired, and Newsweek. She has designed book jackets for authors including Jorge Luis Borges, Charles Lindbergh, and Vladimir Nabokov. Two volumes of her drawings have been published under the titles C’est le Pied! and C’est le Pied II. In her spare time she creates and sells novelties and cracks eggs at her family’s restaurant in New York, Shopsin’s. She is currently a 2012 fellow with the nonprofit Code for America.
 
Published July 18, 2017 by MCD. 337 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Arbitrary Stupid Goal
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Good
on Apr 23 2017

The author succeeds admirably in expressing that spirit, largely through sharp, loving portraits of two brash, irreverent, opinionated men: her father, who summarily banned certain customers from his restaurant, and his best friend Willy...

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Heller McAlpin on Jul 18 2017

Shopsin, a graphic designer, illustrator, and part-time cook in her family's eponymous New York restaurant, has concocted a refreshingly quirky, non-linear memoir about her unconventional upbringing in and around what was then her parents' old-fashioned corner grocery store in Greenwich Village.

Read Full Review of Arbitrary Stupid Goal | See more reviews from NPR
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