Wednesday, December 12, 2012

BC2012: How to be a Person

This book caught my eye at the Book Cellar when I saw Dan Savage's name on the cover. Best known for his long-running "Savage Love" sex advice column, he is also editorial director of The Stranger, a Seattle alternative weekly newspaper. How to be a Person, which Savage co-authored with three others, is ambitiously subtitled "The Stranger's Guide to College, Sex, Intoxicants, Tacos and Life Itself", and it contains advice compiled from the paper's annual college issue.

I guess the best way to sum up How to be a Person is that it's a compilation of information from an alternative weekly newspaper. I know I wrote that in the previous paragraph, but it really does describe the quality and value of the book well. There are many helpful items, but there is also a lot of fluff. Sometimes it's pretty funny but other times it falls flat. Doesn't that describe the writing one finds in most alternative weekly newspapers?

I read this book aloud to my wife mainly because we both enjoy "Savage Love", a collegian-targeted edition of which takes up about one fifth of the book. We were mostly looking for entertainment rather than advice, which is good because I think How to be a Person offers more of the former. Overall I'd rate it just okay. If I knew someone going into college, I could probably find a better book for him or her.

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