Where Great Books Meet Pop Culture
Flatiron Books 2015
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in Literary StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Popular CultureNew Books in SociologyNew Books Network January 28, 2016 Gael Cooper
The concept sounds simple: Maris Kreizman‘s Slaughterhouse 90210: Where Great Books Meet Pop Culture (Flatiron Books, 2015), based on her popular Tumblr, pairs up classic celebrity and television images with relevant quotes from literature. But the blend of high and low culture makes for a delightful and insightful read.
Here is where Kurt Vonnegut meets Brenda Walsh, summing up life in the 90210 zip code via one of his most iconic “Slaughterhouse-Five” lines. Where a Joan Didion essay written decades before Taylor Swift was ever born sings out new insight into the pop star’s famously personal lyrics. And where a Joseph Heller quote from “Catch-22” sums up Donald Trump quite nicely, political ambitions and all.
Kreizman, a former book editor and current publishing-outreach lead at Kickstarter, joins fellow pop-culture junkie Gael Fashingbauer Cooper for a gleeful troop through the book, discussing favorite quote-photo pairings and why they work so well. Kreizman also shares behind-the-scenes info on the photos she wishes were in the book, and reveals which new shows would’ve fit nicely. (“Empire” is really all a big Dostoevsky novel when you get down to it, if ninenteenth-century Russia had hip-hop labels and private jets.) A book concept that may at first seem like a gimmick proves itself to be a rich new lens through which to view the relationship between modern entertainment and celebrity and literary wisdom of the ages. Sartre meets Seinfeld here, and they have a lot in common.