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Not Quite a Genius Hardcover – August 8, 2017
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“So no, Nate Dern may not be quite a genius. Still, he has written a book that is very smart, funny, thoughtful, and that might be just what the world needs.”—The New York Times Book Review
"Nate Dern’s brain is a VitaMix that chops up Kafka, the Internet, Republicans and thousands of other cultural ingredients and blends them into hilarious little treats. The results are not just funny—which they are—but they’re even kind of profound. Highly recommended reading for those hungry for surprise."—A.J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of The Know-it-All and Drop Dead Healthy
“Nate is one of those writers and performers that is constantly morphing and changing, always impressing and exceeding my expectations. His book is no different—you never know where it's going to go next, what genre, what format, what unique new take on an old idea. It's a breath of fresh air that you can eat up bit by bit or all at once like a huge hoagie. His book is, in a lot of ways, like a really wonderful sandwich."—Abbi Jacobson, co-creator and star of Comedy Central’s Broad City
About the Author
Nate Dern grew up in the mountains of Evergreen, Colorado, where he enjoyed running on dirt trails and reading Kurt Vonnegut. Formerly the artistic director at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, Dern is the current news editor at Funny or Die. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and their cat, Renly Baratheon. Not Quite a Genius is his first book.
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Not Quite a Genius is a mix of personal essays and short fiction pieces from Funny or Die senior writer Nate Dern. I've met Mr. Dern in person before. I found him very irritating. But his book is worth reading.
The essays are engaging anecdotes from Dern's high school and college years. My favorite was a story called "Predator Prey" about Dern getting duped by con men in Tunisia while on a study abroad trip. Dern is a very funny prose writer. Unfortunately, in real life he is personality is extremely grating.
Of the short fiction pieces, I especially enjoyed "Flowers For Ai_One" which is a playful take on Daniel Keyes famous novel Flowers for Algernon. In Dern's version, the protagonist is reimagined as a sentient computer program who is growing increasingly intelligent. Like much of Dern's writing, the story takes a fantastical premise and explores it from a very funny point of view. Sadly, the actual Nate Dern is not nearly as charming as his written word. I'm sorry to keep harping on this, but I really find it odd that such an unpleasant human being could have written such an entertain book.
Not Quite A Genius is an easy recommendation. I would also recommend that if you ever encounter Nate Dern in person, avoid making tiresome small talk with him at all costs. The man can really talk your ear off. And his voice is just kind of annoying.