The Sellout by Paul Beatty

Back to Booker Prize winners am I? I thought that was all behind me. I used to say I was going to win the Booker Prize one day, not really, but on online profile questions about dreams and such. I used to say I wanted to open a cafe where I could sit in the corner and write my book and win the Booker Prize and use the money to open a cafe…

That was back in the days when I thought I liked Booker-Prize-winning books.[1] But then I read more of them and realised that it was mostly just literary masturbation with mandatory references to penises and excreta to be edgy and ‘art’, and me just another high-brow voyeur. I peeked in The Sellout. Page 1, line 7: “… pulled out my gigantic penis and masturbated to satisfaction …”–check. Still, there have been some truly exceptional exceptions, so here we are.

On a different note, The Sellout is rare proof of the adage that one shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, even in this age when marketing gurus understand people too well or at least have succeeded in shaping us into a people they understand. Well, I guess I don’t know yet if the old adage is true because I haven’t read the book yet, but that doesn’t alter my point, which is that Paul Beatty’s The Sellout has the ugliest cover of any book I have ever seen, let alone wanted to read, so that’s saying something. It looks like one of those advance proofs bookshop owners get, full of spelling mistakes and careless formatting that can ruin even a good book, which most of them aren’t. There really is no excuse for the cover. If being hipster is choosing something ugly because you are too cool to choose something else then this was designed by your dad.

-Reading the Why

[1] Despite giving up on Midnight’s Children, the Booker of Bookers, the book that, because I always finish books I start, caused me to stop reading for several years, which I regret bitterly, the thinking being if I never start another book, then I never stopped reading the last one.


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