Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture

by DOUGLAS COUPLAND | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0349103313 Global Overview for this book
Registered by HHX-328595 on 6/6/2004
Buy from one of these Booksellers:
Amazon.com | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT | Bol.com
11 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by HHX-328595 on Sunday, June 06, 2004
The Ring Has Done its Round!

This is a great book; it really depicts the 1961-1971 generation (as the blurb states). It does not exclusively appeal to readers in this age group, though! Apart from the Tales for an Accelerated Culture, poignant neologisms are introduced in the margin. I've quoted some favourites below.
Throughout the vigorous story-telling, images of intense beauty are conjured. Especially the final tale is startlingly beautiful.
Coupland is a sharp observer of our time. This also becomes evident in Microserfs, a hilarious book which I highly recommend as well.
Check out this site for links to more information on Coupland's Generation X.

I am going to send Generation X on a ring hoping that many others will enjoy it as well.
Participants (final order):
lot12
sam- (NL - liefst binnen NL)
MaaikeB (NL - liefst binnen Utrecht ;-)
Olifant (NL - UK = OK!)
billhookbabe (UK - anywhere)
retrogirl1977 (Canada - ship North America)
Antof9 (US - anywhere)
pchemphd (US - anywhere)
Joanthro (US - anywhere)
Owlet (wil graag laat)
Hellehond
And back to maupi

Metaphasia: An inability to perceive metaphor.
Dorian Graying: The unwillingness to gracefully allow one's body to show the signs of aging.
Native Aping: Pretending to be a native when visiting a foreign destination.
Celebrity Schadenfreude: Lurid thrills derived from talking about celebrity deaths.
Clique Management: The need of one generation to see the generation following it as deficient so as to bolster its own collective ego: "Kids today do nothing. They're so apathetic. We used to go out and protest. All they do is shop and complain."
Conversational slumming: The self-conscious enjoyment of a given conversation precisely for its lack of intellectual rigor. A major spin-off activity of Recreational Slumming.
Recreational Slumming: The practice of participating in recreational activities of a class one perceives as lower than one's own: "Karen! Donald! Let's go bowling tonight! And don't worry about shoes ... apparently you can rent them."
Personality Tithe: A price paid for becoming a couple; previously amusing human beings become boring: "Thanks for inviting us, but Noreen and I are going to look at flatware catalogs tonight. Afterward we're going to watch the travel channel."
Diseases for Kisses (Hyperkarma): A deeply rooted belief that punishment will somehow always be far greater than the crime: ozone holes for littering.
Historical Overdosing: To live in a period of time when too much seems to happen. Major symptoms include addiction to newspapers, magazines and TV news broadcasts.
Historical Underdosing: To live in a period of time when nothing seems to happen. Major symptoms include addiction to newspapers, magazines and TV news broadcasts.
McJob: A low-pay, low-prestige, low-dignity, low-benefit, no-future job in the service sector. Frequently considered a satisfying career choice by people who have never held one.

Journal Entry 2 by HHX-328595 on Sunday, June 27, 2004
The book started its journey last night, travelling with lot12 via the western tip to the far north of the Netherlands and from there to many other places, visiting various hospitable book-friendly homes. I wouldn't mind taking this journey myself!

Journal Entry 3 by lot12 from Amsterdam, Noord-Holland Netherlands on Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Dit boek ligt mij echt toe te stralen! Het ziet er zo aantrekkelijk uit! Ik ga er snel in beginnen, maar moet eerst nog echt even wat dingen afmaken.

Journal Entry 4 by lot12 from Amsterdam, Noord-Holland Netherlands on Thursday, August 05, 2004
Intriguing book, to say it in two words.
I had to get into it, but I especially liked the way the story formed itself along the way, in my head I mean. It is a nice portrait of a generation, but it is defenitely not mine. I recognised a lot of elements, but my generation is not that nihilistic or indifferent.But then, it also made me wonder wether this difference isn't so much in the generation difference as in the difference between Americans and Europeans.

The backcover blurb compared the book to the Salinger stories like The Catcher in the Rye. Salinger is one of my favourite writers, so of course it is difficult to match them in my eyes. I can understand why Gen X is compared with Catcher, but I can relate (I like this English word for being both a very good word to describe a situation or feeling as well as a word with hardly any real value or substance) to Salinger better, because the way his people stand in the world resembles my own. I have some thoughts on this subject, but for their subtlety I would need to write in dutch. I won't do that here because the book will travel outside the Netherlands (besides, you would get bored, probably).

The book hasn't gone from my head yet, though I finished it about a week ago. That is a good sign.
I really liked the ending, the image was very powerful and beautiful. I wonder about it. What do you think, does it really happen (in the reality of the story) or is it one of his stories to cover up what he really did? I like the openess of this question, and the open ending of the book.

Thanks maupi, for making it into a ring!

btw.: you said I could give the book to cellotape (wouter) afterwards and that you'd put him on the list after me. You didn't do that, but is it still okay if I give it to him now? If not, just PM me and I will send it on to sam-.

Journal Entry 5 by cellotape from not specified, not specified not specified on Saturday, September 11, 2004
Didn't find the time to read it --- now sending it along.

Journal Entry 6 by Blue-Ink from Amsterdam, Noord-Holland Netherlands on Monday, September 20, 2004
In m'n brievenbus "gevonden"

Journal Entry 7 by Blue-Ink at BookRing in Book Ring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Friday, October 01, 2004

Released 15 yrs ago (10/1/2004 UTC) at BookRing in Book Ring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

RELEASE NOTES:

I don't know...
I guess I started to suffer from neologism overdosing after a few chapters.

It's kind of cute, but also a bit dated already.

Journal Entry 8 by MaaikeB from Zeist, Utrecht Netherlands on Monday, October 04, 2004
The book has arrived safely. I'll read it ASAP.

Journal Entry 9 by MaaikeB from Zeist, Utrecht Netherlands on Tuesday, October 12, 2004
The book looks great and I loved the neologisms, but I wasn't able to remain interested in the story. Kept falling asleep. Maybe I shouldn't have read this one in bed. It was too big to be read comfortably. It's the only time of the day, however, that I do read (books, that is). I leafed through it and decided to send it on. It's nice to have had a taste of the book, but I won't read all of it. Thanks for sharing, maupi.

Journal Entry 10 by Olifant from Porthmadog, Wales United Kingdom on Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Lag heerlijk languit in mijn postvakje... Prachtige kaart MaaikeB! Ben benieuwd, mijn eerste reactie was: 'Hè, is het een studieboek?!'. Oh, I'm sorry, it's supposed to be in English, I forgot.

Journal Entry 11 by Olifant from Porthmadog, Wales United Kingdom on Monday, October 18, 2004
No, it's not a book I like. Got bored with the neologisms and couldn't get into the story. I did try a couple of times though, the layout of the book is nice with it's cartoons and pictures. Maybe it's the time of the year or maybe it's because I have a lot of other books to read that seem more appealing, I don't know.

I'll send the book to billhookbabe this week.

Journal Entry 12 by billhookbabe on Friday, October 22, 2004
Thanks Olifant. A few rings to go before this one, but I hope to get to it within the month.

Journal Entry 13 by billhookbabe on Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Well I tried but I just didn't get on with this book. I have read quite a few by Coupland now and this is the first one I didn't enjoy. I agree the layout of the book is interesting, and some of the stories are off the wall but I didn't finish it, a rare thing for me.

Off this goes to retrogirl1977 when I have her adress, and hope she is more appreiciative of the finer points of Coupland's writing skills.

Journal Entry 14 by Antof9 from Lakewood, Colorado USA on Saturday, December 04, 2004
Safe and sound, this book made it to the US! I'm excited to read this book, and Unk may even read it.

I was born in 1966, but I've often felt that I was less like a GenXer and more like a boomer (which kind of bugs me!). My parents were married my entire growing up years, my mom didn't go back to work until I was in high school, and our upbringing was fairly conservative. In these ways, I have much more in common with boomers than my generation.

It will be interesting to see what this book has to say. I have one or two other books in front of this, but should get to it fairly quickly.

lot12 -- feel free to write your thoughts in Dutch -- even though we couldn't all read them, they'd still be there as part of your journal entry. I certainly don't hesitate to write anything in my own language -- you shouldn't either!

Journal Entry 15 by Antof9 from Lakewood, Colorado USA on Friday, January 07, 2005
I'm embarassed to type this, but would feel worse if I didn't. I can't find this book right now. I'm sorry, Maupi! It's definitely not gone. But it's also definitely lost. I've been looking for it for three days straight (well, I did stop to work, eat, and sleep). I remember that it was on the coffee table and we moved it because we were expecting company. I'm sure that it's with the other stuff I moved. Now if I just knew where THAT stuff was. . .

Anyway, I thought I should give you all an update and let you know I *will* find it, and I *will* finish reading it!

Happy New Year. . .

9 January update: FOUND IT! Expect to finish it this week. Sorry to cause panic!

Journal Entry 16 by Antof9 from Lakewood, Colorado USA on Monday, January 24, 2005
Finished! and this wasn't at all what I expected! I thought it was going to be non-fiction; not a "story", so that was a big surprise.

There were many things I liked about this book, and just a few things I didn't. I think I would have liked it better without the stories the three friends told each other. The whole "storytelling" think confused me a little. Maybe that's some deep symbolism I'm missing, but I could have done without it, or at least only the ones that were referred to again in the rest of the book. They seemed like such an odd form of escapism (maybe *that's* the point), and don't synch with what I know about my generation. The stories told on the picnic seemed to be just to pass the time, but Dag asking for a story when the cops came didn't make sense to me.

I really enjoyed the margin neologisms! I was able to identify with many of them. Some of them made me laugh outright, and some were tellingly true. Some were expressions I've never heard, but certainly knew exactly what they meant when I read them.

One of the inconsistencies I didn't understand is that Andy is supposed to be a "standard-issue" American GenXer, but he uses British/European expressions like "snogging", which I never heard until I "met" UK friends in the Chit-Chat forum on BookCrossing.

Some of the neologisms from the margin that are notable because they made me laugh, think, or concern me (Maupi -- I liked some of the same ones as you! I won't repeat those):

Paper Rabies: Hypersensitivity to littering.
Option Paralysis: The tendency, when given unlimited choices, to make none.
Divorce Assumption: A form of Safety Net-ism, the belief that if a marriage doesn't work out, then there is no problem because partners can simply seek a divorce.

This last one is something that concerns me often, and I blame the Boomers for teaching this to their children. I've been married 13+ years, and I say that every day we're married, we're affecting the statistics!

I've PMd pchemphd for an addy, so hopefully this will be going out soon. Thanks for sharing this book, Maupi -- it's a topic often discussed in our house, and this was an interesting angle. It also helped me understand some things about my peers better.

Journal Entry 17 by Antof9 from Lakewood, Colorado USA on Friday, March 25, 2005
WOO HOO! I'm meeting joanthro today for coffee and a hand-off! I'm SO excited :)

For the record, we have "history", but haven't met yet. This woman is the height of sneaky, and I just thought you all should know (in case the book disappears, or something).

Journal Entry 18 by Joanthro from Denver, Colorado USA on Saturday, March 26, 2005
Met up with Antof9 yesterday for coffe and a book hand-off. What a great way to receive a bookring - thanks Ant for a great afternoon! I will read this right away.

Journal Entry 19 by Joanthro from Denver, Colorado USA on Saturday, April 23, 2005
As Ant said over tea (I've always wanted to write that!), this isn't nonfiction. I'm not sure where I got the impression that it was nonfiction, but I am very glad I read this and that it was fiction!

I thoroughly enjoyed Coupland's use of language: "Baby magnesium flare twinkle lights gird the sentinal palms of Highway 111" was one sentence that really caught my attention and exemplified the tone of the book for me. The disaffection and disconnection from the world exhibited by the overeducated and underemployed characters in the book (overeducated in relation to job prospects only - I'm not sure any one can really be "over" educated) captured the GenX experience I thought. But maybe it's just a North American thing.

Thanks for sharing maupi!

(mailed to owlet earlier today)


Journal Entry 20 by owlet from Maastricht, Limburg Netherlands on Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Received this today, together with a RABCK, ain't bookcrossing great?! (if it wasn't for a threatening TBR-mountain in my room I would really be happy ;-))
It's only now that I realize this book is by the author of Microserfs, a book nobodysperfect has recommended to me and that I still want to read one day.
I'm from 1971 and was wondering on the Dutch forum if I belonged to the Generation X or not when maupi pointed out this ring. I'll read it as soon as I've finished my current book!

Journal Entry 21 by owlet from Maastricht, Limburg Netherlands on Saturday, June 25, 2005
I'm reserving this spot in the journal entries for my future review, as I hope to finish this book before tomorrow afternoon, and give it to Hellehond at the big BC meeting at the beach in Castricum. Later more!

Edit, June 27: Didn't finish it on time, so took it back home with me, read it during the train ride. I'm still "processing" the book, have to think about it a little. I loved the cover art and format of the book, also the cartoons inside. The neologisms sometimes disturbed the reading, interrupting the flow. Unlike some others, I liked the story-telling and thought the overal story was ok.

Though born in 1971, I don't consider myself a GenXer, there are too many dissimilarities. Maybe it is a North American-European difference, I don't know. All in all, I liked reading it (my first Coupland), thanks for sharing it, maupi!

Edit, June 29: I'll send it on its way tomorrow, to Hellehond

Journal Entry 22 by Hellehond from Utrecht, Utrecht Netherlands on Friday, July 01, 2005
Thanks, Maupi, for ringing, and Owlet, for sending. I'll start right now.

Journal Entry 23 by Hellehond from Utrecht, Utrecht Netherlands on Tuesday, July 12, 2005
I just can't get into the book. So I will return it to Maupi.

Journal Entry 24 by HHX-328595 on Thursday, July 28, 2005
The book has returned home. It looks nicely read, but not too badly overused.
Apparently the book didn't appeal to all ring readers and for those I'd like to add that please do not let this one book make you never want to read another Coupland novel. His other novels are of course typically Coupland, but they also have a very own narrative and are populated with completely different characters. His two latest (Nostradamus and Eleanor Rigby) are highly praised by many critics.
Coupland also has an interesting homepage.

Are you sure you want to delete this item? It cannot be undone.