Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Book Club For Hipsters? Solid Baby!

Sisters and Brothers and Children of the Flip:

When, in the course of literary events, it becomes necessary for one peeps to dissolve the bonds that are such a drag due to connection with Squaresville, and to assume it’s a gas to watch the laws of nature and nature's Big Sky Daddy-O pull their coat on respect to the jaw music of mankind, man, it requires that they should lay out the beefs which impel them to Splitsville.

It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.

Listen, knock me your lobes, ‘cause, DIG!, we hold these riffs to be self-evident, that all you cats n’ kitties are created equal but that some are more equal than others - y’know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout! - that they are well-endowed, baby, oh yeah!, by the Hip One on High with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of hipness.

Feeling the need to channel your inner Lord Buckley? Does Danielle Steel homogenize your blood and thin it to sugarwater? Does the sound of one hand clapping tickle your cochlea? Do you run down the Best-Seller list and realize to your utter joy that you have not read a single one nor will you ever read any of them, on principle?

Welcome to The Hipster Book Club, a “website…created as an offshoot of the LiveJournal community of the same name. Formed in October, 2003, the Hipster Book Club LiveJournal community grew from word of mouth alone. It currently boasts over 3,400 members from a variety of nations, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain, Japan, Honduras, and the Netherlands.

"The website began when one community member asked why a good comprehensive website didn’t exist to focus on book reviews and literary topics…so we decided to make one.”

What makes this site so “hipster”?

“Well, obviously, we’re better than you.

"Just kidding. The term 'hipster' is and always will be used in an ironic sense for us. We don’t consider ourselves particularly ‘hip.’ Instead, we strive to be accessible to people of all ages without pandering only to what is popular. We do, however, bear some of the elitism associated with what people consider hipster: We believe that if you don’t read books, you’re totally not cool.”

Amen, sista!

The latest issue of The Hipster Book Club features a must read piece, The Influence of Anxiety: Wading In by Marie Mundaca, who, while a production staffer at Little, Brown worked with David Foster Wallace, designing his book, Oblivion. This is the story of their collaboration and friendship.

Not much point in reiterating what Ms. Mundaca has so well-written. Suffice it to say, if you value your hip cred – or are looking to gain some – check out The Hipster Book Club.

Now, it’s a sad state of affairs when reading becomes so marginalized, so fringe that it becomes an activity only for in-the-know initiates. In other words, hip. I’m quite certain that when R&B group Tower of Power released What Is Hip? (1973) they did not figure reading into the equation.

Pure, vintage hip used to have a timeless connotation. Now, alas, it has deteriorated into an adjective for faddish style.

That is SO unhip.

Reading? Hip eternal. Goatees and berets for the gents, black turtlenecks and capri pants for the ladies, unnecessary. Wear words on your sleeve, all you Jacks n' Jills!

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