Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Bit Rot: stories + essays Hardcover – March 7, 2017
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
"Douglas Coupland is a media theorist, artist, writer, and designer. He's also wickedly funny, which makes his thoughts on modernity all the more biting and enjoyable. Bit Rot...shows off all sides of Coupland's work without ever losing his sardonic edge.... The book feels like an ongoing conversation with a hilarious, intelligent friend...an engaging, thought-provoking look at the modern age through the thoughts of one smart, funny man.” —Noah Cruickshank, Shelf Awareness
"Douglas Coupland is back, with a tasty collection of bingeable treats for a new generation." —Joshua Chaplinsky, Lit Reactor
"Bit Rot offers priceless insights.... Few people are better [than Douglas Coupland] at explaining the ramifications of the digital era." —Jane Ciabattari, BBC
“[Douglas Coupland’s] voice is undiminished after more than a quarter century in the cultural spotlight . . . a writer, thinker and artist utterly perfect of and for his time.” —Robert J. Wiersema, National Post
“[A] respected futurist, bestselling author, prolific visual artist . . . [Bit Rot] is classic Coupland – created intentionally for the Internet age.” —Marsha Lederman, The Globe and Mail
"We should really pay attention to Coupland. His eye is so firmly on the ball he’s virtually clairvoyant." —Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian
"[Coupland] is at his best when he muses on new opportunities and challenges presented by technology." —The National
“Unremittingly famous for defining a generation, Douglas Coupland is, himself, a creative whirl.” —The New York Times
“A contemporary prophet.” —The Sunday Times
“A brilliant social commentator.” —Elle
“A shrewd observer of modernity.” —The Observer
“A writer, thinker and artist utterly perfect of and for his time.” —National Post
“We should really pay attention to Coupland. His eye is so firmly on the ball he’s virtually clairvoyant.” —The Guardian
“An eclectic and thought-provoking collection . . . [Bit Rot] reveals the breadth and depth of Coupland's writing.” —Kirkus Reviews
"The current landscape, the mindless and endless landslide of mass culture versus individual vulnerability - no one sees these or gets to the heart of them quite like Coupland." —Ali Smith
"In the future, if people are curious about what it was like to live in our times, in the early twenty-first century, they will do well to read Douglas Coupland." —Yann Martel
About the Author
Douglas Coupland is a Canadian visual artist, writer and designer. His first novel was the 1991 international bestseller Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. He has published four-teen novels, two collections of short stories, eight non-fiction books and a number of dramatic and comedic works for stage, film and TV. In 2014, Coupland had his first major solo exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, after which the show toured to Toronto, and then internationally. His most recent book, Kitten Clone, was a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Non-fiction. Coupland is a contributor to The New York Times, e-flux journal, Artsy and Vice online and is a columnist with the Financial Times of London. Since 2015 he has been artist-in-residence at the Google Cultural Institute in Paris.
Top customer reviews
I enjoyed the intermingling of the essays and the stories in this very diverse and satisfying collection. The pieces range from insightful to personal to witty to hilarious, and include a level of perception and depth along with technological and cultural observations. I will admit that I liked the essays more than the short stories, but a few of the fictional pieces stood out. Almost all of the essays were winners (with the exception being the Google searches, although it was interesting).
Anyone familiar with Copeland's writing knows that he has an exceptional way with words and a unique way of observing the world. It is all evident here. Normally I try to avoid including quotes from review copies, but these pieces are finished and previously published. The quotes will give you a taste of what Copeland has served up in this collection:
A common question I ask people whenever film discussions come up is, "What is the movie that scared the shit out of you when you were eleven or twelve - the film that you were probably too young to watch, but you watched it anyway, and it totally screwed you up for the rest of your life?" Everyone’s got one. Mine was Lord of the Flies, but other common answers are The Exorcist and Event Horizon. The point is that we all know that magic window in time when one is most susceptible to fear."
(This is a great question to ask people. I know my older brother took me to a movie...)
Last summer in Reykjavik, I learned that one in ten Icelanders will write a novel in their lifetime. This is impressive, but the downside of this is that each novel gets only nine readers. In a weird way, our world is turning into a world of Icelandic novelists, except substitute blog, vlog or website for novel - and there we are: in Reykjavik. (As a long-time blogger, I actually laughed aloud over this.)
It turns out that smell is a vector, and for every smell there exists an anti- smell, and the anti- smell of human death is artificial cinnamon. You learn something new every day, and this is what you learned today.
The slowness and cluelessness of some Starbucks staff drive me insane. I want a brewed coffee, here’s two dollars, so come on, just pour the damn thing. Starbucks needs an express lane. Do they ever count how many customers leave because they don’t want to wait for ten minutes behind useless people ordering complicated, useless beverages? I think they must.
I don’t know if it’s me or what, but having to speak to college students is like having to address a crowd of work- shirking entitlement robots whose only passion, aside from making excuses as to why they didn’t do their assignments, is lying in wait, ready to pounce upon the tiniest of PC infractions. (This translates to employees that are students too.)
Worrying about money is one of the worst worries.... Worrying about money is anger-inducing because it makes you think about time: how many dollars per hour, how much salary per year, how many years until retirement. (oh yeah.)
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the Penguin Publishing Group.
I never heard of Douglas Coupland before I opened this book, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I started off slow, not quite sure of what to make of the collection of stories and essays. By the end, I was hooked.
=== The Good Stuff ===
* Coupland writes well and is usually fun to read. The essays are short- a couple of pages each, and are varied in style and tone. His style vaguely reminds me of PJ O’Rourke, but he is both more serious and more irreverent at the same time. His essays and stories sort of live in that gray area between fiction and non-fiction, and they make their point whether they are strictly true or not. In fact, it really doesn’t matter.
* The stories all make some larger point across a wide-range of topics. There is no strong over-riding ideology, although the author’s viewpoints (slightly left of center) do come through. Various essays take on topics such as the Vietnam war, environmental damage from oil exploration and transportation, and the author’s failure to found and get rich from Starbucks.
* The ultimate test of a writer’s skill is the ability to interest me in topics I never thought I was interested in. Coupland has that ability. I found myself reading about-and getting interested in-the decorating habits of art curators and the advertising strategy behind Elizabeth Taylor’s signature perfumes.
* The book grabbed me from the first page. It begins with a slightly strange tale, written in the first person, of a pilot’s death. It was one of those stories where you finish reading it and need a few minutes to get your head around what you just read.
=== The Not-So-Good Stuff ===
*As with all collections of short works, I find them to be fatiguing. I ended up reading the book in three chunks, each separated by reading another book.
* Some of the stories seem to run too long. Coupland’s varied style works best in a shorter format, and I had a hard time keeping my interest in the 20+ page stories. Fortunately, the vast majority of the book is made up of short pieces.
=== Summary ===
As I read the first couple chapters, I was prepared to hate this book. But the combination of good writing, reasonably defended opinions and a somewhat eclectic style more than held my interest through the book. The essays are often somewhat indirect, and make their points through examples or parables. Others are more direct, and include direct observations.
I ended up enjoying the book, and look forward to reading additional essays by the author.
=== Disclaimer ===
I was able to read an advance copy through the courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley.
The book reads like a series of underdeveloped stories Coupland wrote. First drafts of something that he wrote and then abandoned. He bounces from essays about himself and his family, to short fictional stories about characters we only hear from once.
I'll single out my favorite and least favorite of the stories. Least favorite was "The Fear of Windows" This read like a summary of a bad M. Night Shyamalan movie, or bad Shyamalan fan fiction. I almost gave up at this point.
One of the longest stories, and the best, is "George Washington's Extreme Makeover" a pilot script for a tv show about time travelers who snatch famous people, convince them they are angels, then give them medical procedures and cosmetic make overs.
Part of what I love about his Coupland is his willingness to push the boundaries of what books can do. He's amazing at letting me believe he's lived all of the lives he's ever written about. The problem with this book is it didn't give him enough time to develop the characters.
I realize this book was part of an art exhibition. I'm sure it's better in conjunction with the exhibition. As a stand alone, it's just okay.