Lauren Leto

Faking It

Reading books is hard, yo! Fake your favorite author.

How To Fake Like You’ve Read Dostoevsky

If you’re trying to present yourself as someone who is a brooding intellectual, let’s do a quick review of Fyodor Dostoevsky.

1. Knowing Dostoevsky’s first name is not important. Knowing how to pronounce his name is important. Say it like this: DOS [like the “dos” in “Dos Equis,” you drunk] –  TOY [the dirty kind]- EV [the nickname for that Russian guy you slept with] – SKI [the sport I cannot do]. Also, Dostoevsky is spelled various ways, but since you’re already too dumb and lazy to read, let’s only focus on this spelling. It’s how most Americans spell it and  America – fuck yeah!

2. Tolstoy and Dostoevsky are not the same thing. Just because they are both Russian authors does not mean that you should put them in the same camp. Tolstoy will be covered in another post.

3. Crime and Punishment is like the Tell Tale Heart (you know the story by the first major Goth guy, right?). A man kills and the guilt eats away at him psychologically (very barebones of the plot, try not to talk specifics). No one who is a fan of Dostoevsky would only read Crime and Punishment. Name drop The Brothers Karamazov, say that you still read over Zosima’s passages when you need to feel inspired about your worldview.

4. Dostoevsky got exiled to Siberia because he’s a badass motherfucker.

5. Dostoevsky focused on ethical questions such as the role of free will and God in a man’s life. He wanted people to understand that depravity breeds depravity. Hopelessness will lead to hopelessness. Basically, if you act like an antisocial asshole, you’ll be an antisocial asshole (see: The Underground Man). This is because Dostoevsky was against nihilism and rationalism – he wanted to show how thinking without emotions leads to actions without emotions. But I’m probably getting too philosophical for you.

How To Fake Like You’ve Read Salinger

If you’re trying to present yourself as someone who was a loner in high school, let’s do a quick review of Jerome David Salinger.

1. Most important thing to know about J.D. Salinger is that he is still writing. Supposedly he has loads of stories that he is hoarding away and they will be published after his death. Homeboy is 91 – he might never die so he can spite us all. He seems really good at staying alive.

2. Some theorists say he might be publishing under pseudonyms. The person you’re talking to might mention Thomas Pynchon (they’re wrong). Try and change the subject, I’ll explain that theory another day.

3. As a Salinger fan, Catcher in the Rye is not your favorite book. Catcher in the Rye is the favorite book of people who haven’t read any other book.

4. If you’re trying to impress a girl, say Franny and Zooey is your favorite book (makes you seem sensitive). Tell them that you thought Lane was a douchebag.

4. If you’re trying to impress a guy, say you love Nine Stories and then say: “The ending to A Perfect Day for Bananafish forever changed my opinion about short stories. The ending was so insane!” If they heartily agree with you, crack them up by proclaiming, “I see you’re looking at my feet”.

How To Fake Like You’ve Read Kerouac

If you’re trying to present yourself  as someone who knows how to chill, let’s review Jack Kerouac.

1. Gotta pronounce Kerouac correctly. CARE [like the bear that your slutty friend dressed up as for Halloween] – O [like the face] – ACK [like that sound your mom made when you accidently sent her those naked pictures of you instead of your significant other].

2. Unlike Salinger, many people will name Kerouac’s most famous book, On the Road as their favorite Kerouac book.Big Sur is often a close second. Scrutinize the person you are talking to – On the Road Kerouac fans are a little less unkempt than those who are Big Sur fanatics. If someone’s favorite book by Kerouac is The Dharma Bums, step away slowly.

3. Everyone’s favorite quote is Kerouac’s quote from On the Road that starts out, “the only people for me are the mad ones…”.  You should quote this as your favorite, “I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop”. If the person you are talking to quotes that before you, watch out – you’re wrestling with a real literati.

4. Kerouac was bipolar and it was during a manic episode that he wrote all of On the Road. Look down and mutter, “sometimes it’s a gift. The most talented people…”.

5. Talk about how you can’t believe the amount of smoking and drinking that goes on, and if you want an easy out, segue the conversation into a talk about Mad Men and how much that show makes you want to drink old-fashioneds. If you are unable to do so, move on to the points below.

6. Bring up how Kerouac had the coolest friends. Allen Ginsberg (poet who wrote Howl), Timothy Leary (the “turn on, tune in, drop out” LSD head) and Ken Kesey (the guy who wrote that awesome book that got made into an awesome movie with the awesome actor Jack Nicholson – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest).

7. Bring up how On the Road inspired you to take a road trip with friends (bonus points if you say you did it alone).Big Sur inspired you to go camping. The Dharma Bums inspired you to smoke more pot. The Subterraneans is why you started listening to jazz. Say you haven’t gotten to Visions of Cody because you’re saving it for the train trip you’re planning to take across the country.

8. Your favorite part of On the Road is when they’re in Mexico and Sal is watching the little Mexican girl sweeping. Watch out, this passage has a bit of a pedophile feel to it, so don’t tout this while you’ve got this on (maybe NSFW):

Twat here.

My book here.

Flavorwire’s “How to Fake Like You’ve Listened to Animal Collective”.

19 Responses

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  1. […] Posted in book porn by Lauren Leto on January 8, 2010 Flavorwire’s take on How to Fake Like You’ve Read Dostoevsky: How to Fake Like You’ve Listened to Animal […]

    • Anonymous said, on January 8, 2010 at 4:44 pm

      Love the Salinger tips. Knocking pretentiousness is fun, ain’t it?

  2. On a day like this. « Of mundane matters said, on January 14, 2010 at 4:44 am

    […] In the course of all that hopping I came across this. And then this. Found it very funny and thought I should post the link here. So that, you know. Its already […]

  3. Abby said, on January 22, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    As an aspiring brooding intellectual myself and a lover of Russian lit, I feel it is my duty to pretentiousness to say that Dostoevksy is actually pronounced dahstahYEVsky, not dohstohYEVsky. It ends up sounding a little like dah-stai-YEV-sky. The letter “o” in the Russian language is only pronounced “oh” if it resides in a stressed syllable. If unstressed, it is more like “ah”.

  4. Colleen said, on January 29, 2010 at 1:37 am

    Ah, homeboy -seemed- like he was good at staying alive. This primer should be terribly helpful for folks hopping on the Salinger-mourning bandwagon.

  5. Kate said, on February 24, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    I’m surprised that “The Idiot” isn’t included in your “faking it” on Dostoevsky. I think that’s the best one.

  6. Wade said, on March 8, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Sitting rapt at my monitor for the Tolstoy deal. Also, Hunter Thompson. Do it.

  7. Eric again said, on March 9, 2010 at 12:01 am

    Are you people for real? One of the folks here actually claimed to be an aspiring “brooding intellectual.” You’re all either incredibly funny or totally full of shit.

    Have fun, trust funders…


  8. chicchaos said, on April 2, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    This is great…. I had to share on my blog…

  9. Anonymous said, on May 24, 2010 at 4:09 am

    Just… read goddamn Dostoevsky. It shouldn’t be a chore. His books are amazing.

  10. BP said, on June 6, 2010 at 3:18 am

    yeah not going to read FD prob ever, JD’s stuff is short and thus already done, JK=straight up fucking boring, and I dare anyone to not say so, he leaves you begging for <er Hemingway. Great post, however old it may be.

  11. JKL said, on June 7, 2010 at 2:47 am

    Ah, the sad age of irony.

    Will you recognize yourself the day you are sincere?

    Or will you be too preoccupied with spending your life mocking the world around you, and feeling that unspoken smug superiority of observing the world detached and remote?

    Of course you mean not to put on, it’s all ambiguously safe after all.

    But I wish you well.

  12. L said, on June 16, 2010 at 10:43 am

    I’ve read all these guys, and you have it spot on!

  13. saptarshi said, on June 18, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Fail. A Dostoyevsky reader wishing to be an outlier would probably reference The Idiot or a novella like Gentle Creature. My dad is a fan, trust me. In fact I actually do like Gentle Creature, to be honest. so I won’t be cynical. But real Dostoyevsky nerds would tease their kids with jokes the punchline for which would be the Idiot.

    Re Salinger, the only people who like bananafish are people in love with the Kurt Cobain myth, or maybe, haha, those who fake reading William burroughs. Maybe you should do a piece on that. why not raise high the roofbeams for a fav book?

  14. […] And another page on her blog… Reading books is hard, yo! Fake your favorite author. […]

  15. Samantha said, on July 31, 2010 at 10:03 am

    about time you update this…joking about Salinger’s immortality isn’t funny anymore =/

  16. Radically chic Mau Mau said, on September 24, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    If you’re going to site a flim adaptation of Kesey’s for the sake of faking it, why not ‘Sometimes a Great Notion’. Esoteric yet available for viewing, for the video generation that gets brain-aches when attempting to turn a page rather than scroll.

    Are you on the bus?

  17. […] (θα εξηγηθούμε), Κέρουακ και Σάλιντζερ λοιπόν, από το μπλογκ της Lauren Leto, ελαφρώς διασκευασμένο για τα ελληνικά δεδομένα. Harold […]

  18. […] (θα εξηγηθούμε), Κέρουακ και Σάλιντζερ λοιπόν, από το μπλογκ της Lauren Leto, ελαφρώς διασκευασμένο για τα ελληνικά δεδομένα. Harold […]

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