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Don't Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never- Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems Paperback – September 12, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (September 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767916034
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767916035
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Humorist and social critic Rakoff (Fraud) skewers everything from high society to lowbrow politics in this collection of trenchant essays about American culture's excesses and deficiencies. His understated, suave delivery has endeared him to throngs of public-radio fans, and it's an excellent foil for setting up his frequently stinging brand of ridicule. Like David Sedaris, Rakoff's smart writing is elevated by reading his own material, including his hilariously imagined rejoinder to fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. Rakoff clearly writes from a liberal perspective, but his most important viewpoint is that of the savvy and often affronted outsider, whether taking wing amid the opulence of the Concorde or being offered wings in the markedly less elegant comforts of Hooters Air. Whatever the case, his deadpan style and barbed observations bring more than a few targets down to earth.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The belly laughs start on page 7 and occur regularly throughout Rakoff's frequently impertinent, occasionally irascible, yet always inimitable take on contemporary American society. A newly minted U.S. citizen, a process he reveals in all its maddeningly hypocritical inconsistency, Rakoff embarks on a series of journalistic assignments as peculiar in their phantasmagoric diversity as, well, America itself. From the pretentious preoccupation with gourmet dining to the rigor of fasting, Rakoff contemplates the extremes to which we will go in pursuit of our particular, often downright peculiar pleasures. A trip on the Concorde is followed by a jaunt on Hooters Air, and visits to Beverly Hills plastic surgeons segue seamlessly into a tour of a cryogenics storage facility in Arizona. Whether interpreting popular culture or investigating political calumny, Rakoff's cogent observations are delivered with a comforting mixture of appropriate moral outrage and unabashed mocking wonder, as he unfailingly elicits the inherent truths behind our most cherished and churlish institutions. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

David Rakoff wrote the bestsellers Fraud, Don't Get Too Comfortable and Half Empty. A two-time recipient of the Lambda Literary Award and winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor, he was a regular contributor to Public Radio International's This American Life. His writing frequently appeared in the New York Times, Newsweek, Wired, Salon, GQ, Outside, Gourmet, Vogue, and Slate, among other publications. An accomplished stage and screen actor, playwright, and screenwriter, he adapted the screenplay for and starred in Joachim Back's film The New Tenants, which won the 2010 Oscar for Best Live Action Short. He died in August 2012 at the age of 47, shortly after finishing his novel entitled Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die; Cherish, Perish.

Customer Reviews

My husband recieved this book for Xmas.
Jeanne R. Sainati
Sometimes it seems as if he writes just because he wants to get his thoughts out, I didn't find too much value in reading this, nor was it that interesting.
Andrea
The author has a keen sense of observation along with clever commentary that is very entertaining.
Tim G

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 104 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In "Don't Get Too Comfortable," a collection of essays by David Rakoff, the author skewers the excesses and abominations of American society. In a chapter called "Love It or Leave It," the Canadian-born Rakoff discusses how his issues with our current administration helped him decide to apply for American citizenship. In later chapters, Rakoff describes a ride on the Concorde, a visit to a secluded tropical isle for the very affluent, a morning spent with the sidewalk groupies on the Today Show, and a consultation with several plastic surgeons to discuss his physical flaws.

Rakoff is a skilled writer, who uses original and sharply turned phrases in his criticism of greed, hypocrisy, heartlessness, rampant materialism, homophobia, and just plain stupidity. He makes fun of Log Cabin Republicans, fans who stand for hours on a New York sidewalk longing to be noticed by Al Roker, rich people who decide to cleanse their systems by fasting, and individuals who attempt to cheat death by having themselves cryogenically and expensively preserved with the hope of someday being "reanimated."

Although "Don't Get Too Comfortable" is often funny and always irreverent, Rakoff's satire sometimes misses the mark. For example, a chapter about foraging in Prospect Park for edible flora is boring and pointless, as is an essay devoted to "Midnight Madness," a silly scavenger hunt on the streets of New York City. Too often, Rakoff comes off as petty and spiteful, someone who complains simply because he enjoys kvetching. However, Rakoff is often self-deprecating, which does take some of the edge off the scorn he directs towards others. Although far from perfect, the essays in this slim volume are worth reading for their style and cleverness. There is enough humor and bite in "Don't Get Too Comfortable" to earn it a marginal recommendation.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By bookish327 on June 19, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
My husband and I listened to this audiobook on a car trip last week. We both really enjoyed it (as well as the audiobook for Rakoff's other book, FRAUD), but I do admit to nodding off close to the end. (My excuse was that I'd taken an over-the-counter medication for motion sickness. But, maybe he was sometimes a little bit long-winded. Not all the time, though, because we were often laughing out loud at his turns of phrase.)

I greatly enjoyed his humorous, observant style of writing. He entertained me while enlightening me on what it would be like to go on a late-night scavenger hunt through New York City, for example. Some reviewers seemed to have the wrong expectation about what this book was about. I didn't feel like Rakoff had made it his "goal" to delve into American excess; I just think that this was the general theme that tied these essays together. This wasn't meant to be a thesis explaining "This is why Americans are the way they are." These essays are just Rakoff's observations on the ironic quirks of American culture. I just enjoyed the essays for what they were without expecting him to give me a sociological explanation for what was behind everything he wrote about. People who were expecting that were reading the wrong book.

Some other reviewers have criticized Rakoff's delivery when he read his book for the audio CD. In my opinion, his manner of speaking ADDED to my enjoyment of his work. It helped me imagine him in all of the situations he was in. Because he's gay, he can take a detached, third-party view of the soft-core photo shoot he witnesses at the luxury resort, as well as the Hooters Air flight he takes. He's observing the ironies of these situations, but not distracted by the women's "physical charms.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Scaachi Koul on April 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book right after I saw David Rakoff on The Daily Show. Watching the interview between Jon Stewart and Rakoff, I got the impression (like many of the other reviewers here) that his book would delve deep into the idea of excess and why the world wants more and more of everything. Instead, I found something just as wonderful, but more about the humor than the intellect.

Albeit his essays are witty and smart, I found that they concentrated more on an anecdote than they did an actually comparative study. However, I was less than disappointed.

Some chapters I found dull and devoid of interest, but still, the others made up completely for it.

All in all, a good book if you're looking for something witty and smart. I enjoy his litterary style, a sort of snarky, I-know-I'm-right douchebaggery. And it's true; he's right.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Debra Morse on November 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This sharp little collection of essays by David Rakoff is a well executed satire of our hyper-indulged, self-entitled, over-consuming society. Rakoff tosses his articulate, queen-y rants at everything from elitist varieties of salt, to twenty-day fasts and foraging in Central Park. His use of vocabulary is marvelous. At times smug, and at (rare)times self-effacing, Rakoff's humor is acid with a pinch of sugar. "...far from being bobos in paradise, we're in a special circle of gilded- age hell".
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on October 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
How often have we filled out some incomprehensible Government form that we know we have to get right because it's the law. It takes a special mind to look at some of these questions and make it into a catchy essay.

Mr. Rakoff has that kind of mind. It seems he can find a story in almost anything. And that's what this book is, a series of little stories, essays on the human condition in today's downtown New York City for the most part. The stories have a feeling that they were written for something else, one of the magazines for which Mr. Rakoff works pehaps. That doesn't matter, I don't read any of those magazines, so they're new to me.

Like all good stories, these have a small lesson to teach. The point out the silliness of a lot of today's life. In looking at other reviews of this book, some people are more annoyed than amused. To them, all I can say is lighten up, so he doesn't like Bush, most New Yorkers liked the War Protester and the Ambulance Chaser.
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