David Rakoff

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David Rakoff : biography

November 27, 1964 – August 9, 2012

Don’t Get Too Comfortable

Don’t Get Too Comfortable, which is subtitled "The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems" was published in 2005 and also consists of comical autobiographical essays. Some of the essays were originally published in shorter form elsewhere and some original.Sesion Privada" was published in Details,’, "Wildman" in Seed, "As It Is in Heaven," "Beat Me, Daddy," "Whatsizface" and "Off We’re Gonna Shuffle" in GQ; "JDV, MIA,, "Martha, My Dear" and "Faster" on This American Life and "I Can’t Get It For You Wholesale" in Harper’s Bazaar. The over-riding theme of the articles is the absurdity and excessiveness in American life: the book is about luxuries and privileges being treated as deserved rights. Rakoff said that the moral of the book is that there should be "a little more guilt out there" and "we could all, myself included, count our blessings, acknowledge our privileges." The book was generally praised by critics.See, for example, , "readings"; , Llliterarty. Com; , April 18, 2007; , CTV.ca website, October 7, 2005. Retrieved January 20, 2010. The New York Times said, "Rarely have greed, vanity, selfishness, and vapidity been so mercilessly and wittily portrayed". Emily Gordon says that in his "bursts of pure enthusiasm, he’s a delectable Cole Porter, Nicholson Baker and Sarah Vowell smoothie".Gordon, Emily, , Newsday, September 18, 2005. However, Rakoff was criticised in the Washington Post for misusing the word "like", with the reviewer suggesting that Rakoff’s prose could use tightening.Yardley, Jonathan, , Washington Post, October 1, 2005. Retrieved January 20, 2010. In The New York Times, Jennifer 8. Lee said the book was "no more than a collection of vaguely related magazine pieces" rather than "a coherent seriocomic manifesto", that some essays were off-theme, and not about narcissism and excess.Lee, Jennifer 8., , The New York Times, October 2, 2005. Retrieved January 20, 2010.

Half Empty

A third book of essays, Half Empty was published in September 2010.. Retrieved January 20, 2010. Rakoff said the book is "essentially about pessimism and melancholy: all the other less than pleasant to feel emotions that because they are less than pleasant to feel have been more or less stricken from the public discourse but in fact have their uses and even a certain beauty to them". Rakoff argued that it is "a defence of melancholy, pessimism, anxiety and all of the emotions that have been tarred with the brush of negativity and therefore stricken from the larger cultural conversation. I hope to argue…that, while these emotions may well be hedonistically less pleasant, they remain necessary and even beautiful at times." The book won the 2011 Thurber Prize for American Humor.

Contributions to anthologies

Rakoff contributed essays to the following anthologies of non-fiction published by other writers:

  • "My first New York" in My First New York: Early Adventures in the Big City (As Remembered by Actors, Artists, Athletes, Chefs, Comedians, Filmmakers, Mayors, Models, Moguls, Porn Stars, Rockers, Writers, and Others) (2010) (edited by New York Magazine) (2008) (See extract here )
  • "Utah" in State by State: a panoramic portrait of America (2008) (edited by Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey) (See extract here )
  • "Streets of sorrow" in The Best American Travel Writing 2007 (2007) (edited by Susan Orlean) (See extract here )
  • "Love it or Leave it" in The Best American Non-required Reading 2006 (2006) (edited by Dave Eggers) (See extract here )
  • "Barbra’s farewell: A city Verklempt" in Da Capo Best Music Writing 2001 (edited by Nick Hornby and Ben Schafer) (See original article here )
  • "My sister of perpetual mercy" in A member of the family: gay men write about their families (1992) (edited by John Preston)
  • "Christmas Freud" in The dreaded feast: writers on enduring the holidays (2009) (edited by Michele Clarke and Taylor Plimpton)
  • The autobiographer’s handbook: The 826 National Guide to Writing Your Memoir (edited by Jennifer Traig and Dave Eggers)