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Thank You for Not Reading Paperback – November 1, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-1564782984 ISBN-10: 1564782980 Edition: First English Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press; First English Edition edition (November 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564782980
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564782984
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #815,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the bustling Anglo-American literary marketplace, the Eastern European exile doesn't stand a chance, says Ugresic (Have a Nice Day), herself in self-exile from Croatia. "The literary market demands that people adapt to the norms of production. As a rule, it does not tolerate disobedient artists, it does not tolerate experimenters, artistic subversives, performers of strange strategies in a literary text." Instead, it rewards the artistically obedient. Furthermore, Ugresic complains, literature has lost the exclusiveness it once had. Since the market determines what is good and what is bad based purely on what sells, the door has opened for every two-bit celebrity to hock their wares in mega-bookstores, leaving "real" writers out in the cold. The author compares herself to Eeyore, the famous grumbler, but the tone of this collection can be fickle-is the author playfully grumbling or bitterly mocking? In "GW, the Gloomy Writer" and "The Magnificent Buli," she mocks two types who have entered the global literary market: the male Eastern European writer with an inferiority complex and the genius/literary bulimic. In another piece, Ugresic playfully decries a marketplace that allows an empty personality like Ivana Trump to become a published author. At times, the analysis focuses so intently on the superficial business of marketing books that it overlooks the quiet intellectual activity that energizes English departments all across the United States, those little enclaves where Ivana Trump's output makes nary a ripple. And since an academic audience frustrated with the commodification of books is the primary target for these essays, that feels like a significant omission.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"A brilliant, enthralling spread of story-telling and high-velocity reflections... Ugresic is a writer to follow. A writer to be cherished." -- Susan Sontag


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 10, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This collection of essays from the Croatian writer Dubravka Ugresic deals with the state of literature and the arts, the media, the condition of exile and other subjects. While a few of the essays are merely glib, most offer many interesting insights, such as the fact that it is the market, rather than communism, which has most successfully enforced the ideals of "socialist realism" in the arts; that it is the sheer volume of new books, rather than their absence, which has resulted in the death of literature. An entertaining and interesting collection - recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Reader on June 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
It has been many years since I read one of Ms. Ugresic's books. I loved her short stories, so when I saw her book "Thank you for Not Reading" featured prominently in my local library display, I had to read her latest essays on the literary publishing world. I have enjoyed this book very much, since it makes very careful observations about book market here in the US. Ms. Ugresic is able to be critical without being cynical or bitter. Her references to the work of contemporary eastern european writers, exiled in the West, attempting to present their work to the larger audiences is understandably painful at times, but yet she manages to write about it with dignity and humor. Quotes from grumbling Eeyore are very humbling which reminds me that I should read about Eeyore's (mis)adventures soon again. I guess what surprised me a litlle is that in her earlier works, Ms. Ugresic's publishers have always referred to her as a Croatian writer, while in this book Ms. Ugresic seems to refer to herself as a Yugoslav writer. In any case, I have enjoyed this book, it is right on the mark on what is happening in the publishing industry and I am looking forward to reading and re-reading Ms. Ugresic's literary work.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John L Murphy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
Many European writers craft what's called a "feuilleton," a short--maybe a thousand words--essay on a theme, often appearing in newspapers. While no information is given about the origin of these stories, only their late-90s dates, and that the collection was "originally published in Dutch", Ugresic has certainly assembled what the subtitle of her collection indicates. I cannot tell if these essays were written in her native language or in Dutch, which adds to the slight confusion I felt when dealing with these nearly thirty appetizers. If taken in small portions, she offers her thoughts efficiently.

Contrasting the plight of the literary writer with the best-selling, commodified celebrity, she gives a series of elegies or curses at what looms as the funeral of the book for the educated reader. Now, she's preaching to the converted surely, given that the fine Dalkey Archive, a doughty holdout against the Oprah book clubs and Ivana Trump-driven marketplace, publishes her own efforts. But, over the course of only 220 pages, her critique wears so thin that she sounds griping rather than analyzing.

She does warn that the "professor of literature" scolding tone does creep into these essays; I respond, though at a far more proletarian institution than the ones she teaches at: yes, "it takes one to know one." I sympathize with her position, and support it, but the limitations of the 1000-word limit that straightjackets her into repetition and frequent lack of development keeps this anthology (the fiction, by the way, is negligible in amount compared to the essays) from wholly succeeding as a study of the decline of literary fiction and belles-lettres.

Not that her comparisons lack hard-earned insight.
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