Friday, January 14, 2011
Rec. #15: Saturday Night
What: It's a testament to Susan Orlean's skill that her first major book, Saturday Night, holds up so well. Each essay is devoted to one way that people around the U.S. spend the traditional weekly night out. Through the book, we get to spend Saturday nights with people who are attending a quinceanera, babysitting, polka dancing, hosting a Park Avenue dinner party, and keeping watch in a missile silo, among other things.
Comparable to: Orlean's style has remained pretty consistent, so if you've read any of her later essays or books, such as The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup or the The Orchid Thief (inspiration for the movie Adaptation), you'll know what to expect.
Representative quote: "A short guy in a duffel coat, who looked as if he were trying to intersect with a blind date, stood a few feet away, smoothing his hair every few moments and breaking into a weak smile each time a girl veered in his direction, then, as she veered away, smoothing his hair again and frowning." (on a Saturday night in Harvard Square)
You might not like it if: The only Saturday nights you want to hear about are your own.
How to get it: Sadly, it's out of print. Go forth to the used bookstores and the libraries. (And, yes, also the Internet.)