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How to Be Inappropriate Paperback – October 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593762534
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593762537
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,207,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A "deeply funny new collection of booger-flecked nonfiction...While all of these lowbrow reflections are amusing, it's when Nester is semiserious that he's at his best....As a whole, How to Be Inappropriate reads like a coming-of-age tale in which adulthood arrives with a refreshingly juvenile mind-set."-Time Out New York

"Unafraid of offending genteel audiences, How to Be Inappropriate details one man's struggle to divest himself from a passion for vulgarity, as expressible in many verbal and physical forms. For those who wonder what modern fables legendary satirists might spin if alive today, this is a great place to start."--Virginia Konchan, Rain Taxi

"In this essay collection from Soft Skull press, Nester tries very hard to show that he is, indeed, living up to the title. He devotes an entire chapter to mooning, including a list of synonyms for the act (such as "inverted fruit cup"), and one to farting. But the real fun lies in his take on such things as ApologetiX, a Christian rock parody band, and a fascinating profile of a professional videogamer. We'll take Nester's pop culture meanderings over his attempts at frat-boy humor any day."--Penthouse


"If there was Nobel Prize for Achievement in Inappropriateness, Daniel Nester would be Laureate of the Universe. Until then, he'll have settle for having written this shockingly innovative stunner of a book. Nester brings his irreverent, elegiac sensibility to subjects from ranging from the essence of literary truth to the enduring mystery of flatulence, managing in the bargain to highlight the bleak hilarity of human existence—which, when you think about it, is the most inappropriate thing of all." —Rachel Shukert, author of Have You No Shame?

"Daniel Nester is funny as hell." —Stephen Elliott

"Daniel Nester is a stone-cold genius. Clever, lyrical, inappropriate in all the right ways—I'd rather read him than just about anyone right now." —Darin Strauss, author of More Than It Hurts You

"Daniel Nester's essays are haunted by a Victorian perversity. His writing exhibits a kind of Tourette syndrome in which the author continuously abases himself and revels in his own shortcomings. It's a painful kind of comedy leavened by gentle good humor and wonder." —Thomas Beller, author of The Sleep-Over Artist and How To Be a Man

"Former McSweeney's editor Nester (English, Coll. of Saint Rose), whose writing has appeared in The Best Creative Nonfiction, The Best American Poetry, and Poets & Writers, presents his debut collection of humorous nonfiction, amassing 41 years' worth of experience in nonconformity. His stories are, as the title suggests, inappropriate, and they often engender squeamishness, discomfort, and laughter. But they are fresh and, at times, touching, qualities that make this an enjoyable read. Subjects include teaching curse words to Chinese ESL students, reimagining a Terry Gross NPR interview of Gene Simmons by substituting Gene Simmons with an AI computer, a collection of references to flatulence in English poesy, the history of mooning, and out-of-context comments he made as a college professor in order to clarify and expand upon his students' writing. Nester includes photographs, illustrations, and a time line of his inappropriate acts from birth to the present. VERDICT Recommended for readers who enjoy memoirs and essays." —Library Journal

About the Author

Daniel Nester's most recent book, How to Be Inappropriate, described as "a deeply funny new collection of booger-flecked nonfiction" in Time Out New York, was published by Soft Skull Press in 2010. He is editor of The Incredible Sestina Anthology, published by Write Bloody Publishing in 2013.

Nester's first two books, God Save My Queen: A Tribute (Soft Skull, 2003) and God Save My Queen II: The Show Must Go On (2004), are collections on his obsession with the rock band Queen. His third, The History of My World Tonight (BlazeVOX, 2006), is a collection of poems. As a journalist and essayist, his work has appeared in a variety of places, such as Salon, The New York Times, The Morning News, The Daily Beast, The Rumpus, N+1, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and the Poetry Foundation website. 

His work has been anthologized in such collections as Lost and Found, The Best American Poetry, The Best Creative Nonfiction, Third Rail: The Poetry of Rock and Roll, and Now Write! Nonfiction. His poems have appeared in such journals as Coconut, Shampoo, Gulf Coast, Barrow Street, Crazyhorse, Open City, Slope, Spoon River Poetry Review, and other places.

Currently, he is an associate professor of English at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, where he teaches creative nonfiction and poetry and is on the core faculty of their M.F.A. program in creative writing. He lives in Upstate New York with his wife, film and TV editor Maisie Weissman, and two daughters, Miriam and Beatrice.

More About the Author

Daniel Nester's most recent book, How to Be Inappropriate (Soft Skull, 2010), was described as "a deeply funny new collection of booger-flecked nonfiction" in Time Out New York. He is editor of The Incredible Sestina Anthology (Write Bloody, 2013). Nester's first two books, God Save My Queen: A Tribute (Soft Skull, 2003) and God Save My Queen II: The Show Must Go On (2004), are collections on his obsession with the rock band Queen. His third, The History of My World Tonight (BlazeVOX, 2006), is a collection of poems.

His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Morning News, The Daily Beast, and N+1, and anthologized in The Best American Poetry, The Best Creative Nonfiction, Third Rail: The Poetry of Rock and Roll, and Now Write! Nonfiction. He is an associate professor of English at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, where he teaches creative nonfiction and poetry and is on the core faculty of their M.F.A. program in creative writing. He lives in Upstate New York with his wife, film and TV editor Maisie Weissman, and their two daughters.

Find more about him online at danielnester.com.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Barringer on April 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nester's like a boy in the basement who's so quiet you start to get worried. What the hell's he doing down there? We find out exactly what dirty, obsessive business he's been up to when he comes upstairs and hands us this book, in which he writes about love gone wrong, bands gone wrong, and the history of mooning. Mooning! He writes about a video-game king, a Christian-rock parody band, and the literary history of farting! Farting! Thankfully, he's not the kind of boy who gets all sweaty and overheated hoping you'll love what he loves. He's humble and understated and as surprised as you are about what funny, filthy creatures little boys are, with their lonely cravings and wayward penises. For the sake of submersion journalism, Nester fake-tans, takes penis pills, and teaches creative writing to students in NY. I bought a copy of the book to see what an alternative life I might have led, and one for my younger brother, as a cautionary tale.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. O. Aptowicz on September 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
Ondi Timoner's documentary, "DiG!" follows two bands: the blandly successful Dandy Warhols, and the raucous, combustible, insanely talented and brilliantly inexplicable Brian Jonestown Massacre. The Brian Jonestown Massacre spends the entire documentary alternating between creating stunningly original, genre-mashing music and systematically trying to destroy their opportunities through booze-soaked infighting and bizarrely normalized instability.

And I mention this all to say this: Daniel Nester's "How To Be Inappropriate" is the Brian Jonestown Massacre of autobiographical / non-fiction essay books.

"How to Be Inappropriate" is fresh, and manic, and exhilaratingly weird. Nester fearlessly allows all the strange incarnations of his id to run rampant, from his misguidedly perverse MFA lit major side ("Pulling the Muse's Finger: A Fartspotter's Guide to Poetic Passing of Wind"), to his mulleted Jersey yahoo side ("Mooning: A Short Cultural History" ), to the surprising vanity of his upstate professor side ("Yes I Tan: The Indoor Tanning Diaries").

Mixed in with these straightforwardly funny musings are oddball non-fiction articles -- such as his interview with "classic video game king" Todd Rogers and his expose of ApologetiX, a Christian Rock Parody Band -- and compelling prose pieces, like "Queries," which is a collection of actual comments Nester has made on his students' creative writing papers and "A.I. Wanna Rock 'n' Roll All Night," where Nester replaces Gene Simmons' responses during his famous Fresh Air with Terry Gross interview with comments written by "ALICE, an artificial intelligence chatbot.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R on January 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a great book, and not only for the reasons you (if you are drawn to it for the "inappropriate" content) may think. The attention grabbers are the ones about the most taboo subjects (read the table of contents), but How to Be Inappropriate, at it most comic and its most serious, is so much more than that. My favorite of the super funny essays is "Queries," which lists comments he's made on students' writing assignments--"Isn't everything tucked lovingly tucked?," "Is there another, non-legendary Kraken?" The gentleness with which the author treats his students' work heightens the funniness of their contorted language while celebrating the strange products that can result from the awkward effort to put words on paper.

But (and I hope I don't turn off anyone who wants a funny book, because it IS funny) Daniel Nester's book is also quite moving. Several essays--my favorite is "The Difference Between Chickens and Goats"--explore in between times in the author's life, when he has finished one part of his life and is waiting for another to begin. They convey the poignancy of those moments, the lost feeling, the uneasiness of transition. This is a different kind of inappropriate--the feeling of being out of place, the sense that you are acting in ways that do not fit your context. And it is a different kind of funny, the in-retrospect kind you experience when you look back on a painful time in your life and recognize the humor of the human condition.

How to Be Inappropriate is a great humor book, but it is also great writing. It is ideal for anyone who appreciates the art of the personal essay.
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