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On December 13, 2010 by Eden M. Kennedy

I’m a person who used to read a great deal, but who now watches TV on DVD and embraces the Internet with what little strength she has left in her withered hands. Imagine, dear reader, how I used to power lift War and Peace in one hand and Anna Karenina in the other while shouting like Lou Ferrigno getting a full back tattoo of Edith Wharton’s childhood home. My glutes so glossy; my brain so buff. But now, my little atrophied fingers twitch lightly over a touch pad while I wonder if @MindyKaling will ever Tweet back to me. I’m not sure (I GOT PREGNANT) how it happened (AND HAD A BABY). Maybe it happened when I moved to California (AND TURNED 40).

Even though I claim to have been reading Emma for the last two months (and it’s good! I like it! Don’t hit me! Ow!), last week I took a break from taking a break from the bonnets and parasols and snuck off with Steve Martin’s An Object of Beauty. I succumbed to the hype, in other words. But a 7-day-express copy from the library fell into my hands, so what was I supposed to do? Let some Montecito retiree whose library card was held together with packing tape read it first?

It was pretty good. It was sort of gauzy. Reading it felt like you were seeing the contemporary art world through a big piece of Press ‘n’ Seal that softened it and flattened your perspective, and also clung to the edges to keep things fresh. I’m interested in art, but I probably wouldn’t have read it if it weren’t by Steve Martin. I like Steve Martin. Born Standing Up was really good, though I have sort of a love/not-love relationship with other things that he’s done. Like anyone my age who saw him on the Tonight Show when they were fourteen and bought his albums and wore an arrow through her head until her junior high vice principal told her to stop or she’d poke someone’s eye out. That’s all of us, right? Good.

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23 Responses to “Enter title here”

  • I realize this doesn’t come close to being an actual book review. I’m sorry, I am incapable of both reading and writing about books I’ve read.

  • I love Steve Martin but haven’t read any of his writings. Have heard that they’re good though. I did see an exhibit of his personal art collection at the Bellagio several years ago and loved it. Especially loved hearing him comment on each piece in the audio tour. Really interesting stuff, that.

  • I thought about this book the other day, but downloaded The Help instead. It’s good, but it makes me mad while I’m reading it. Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austin. Better then Emma.

  • Well, at least you read his book. I sort of just enjoy him on Twitter and leave it at that. (I do own a copy of Cruel Shoes, however. When I read it at the tender age of something-teen, I found it profoundly disturbing. And to think I only bought it to piss off my dad, who has never been able to stand Steve Martin because of that whole “wild and crazy guy” thing!)(I should maybe save all of this for therapy. Nevermind. Forget I said anything.)

  • I love him on Twitter because he tweets in character, and he blogs in character, too. He’s totally capable of writing straight, interesting prose, and I’m sure he knows what he’s talking about when he talks about art. It was such a placid book, though — everybody got off without much in the way of consequences.

  • Just ordered it, I didn’t know it was out. I love Steve Martin the Novelist. He’s among my favorite Steve Martins, and I am a woman who carries around a laminated list with his name at the top. Shut up. He is not old.

  • All the best reviews mention Press ‘n’ Seal!
    I’ll continue to love Steve Martin despite his latest book.
    How great was he at the Oscars this year.

  • I’ve been debating whether or not to take the plunge into his latest effort. I loved Pure Drivel and The Pleasure of My Company, but never bothered reading any of the stuff that followed. Also, the art scene, fictional or otherwise, isn’t necessarily my bag, baby, so I’m afraid that my plunge would be reluctant, at best.

  • I had the albums. I pretty much know Cruel Shoes by heart. I like him as a writer and an actor and possible waiter. He was cute on Colbert last week. Can I call him cute?

  • Did you think the Jerk was funny?

    Maybe it’s a generational thing – but I do not think the jerk is funny. i think it’s funnier when it’s quoted by Sam Weir in Freaks and Geeks. Is this just me?

    I read his memoir which I thought was quite good. I didn’t know he had a blog!

  • Yes, it’s all of us but I especially identify with the withered hands part.

  • I did not like The Jerk, but I am all about Sam Weir. So whatever generation that makes me part of, I’m fine with that.

  • When I come to read a Fussy blog post, I expect tortoises, bulldogs, yoga and yuks. What is this Steve Martin digression?! I want my money back!

  • I really liked The Pleasure of My Company. It’s short.

    Right now I’m reading Franzen’s Freedom and mostly not reading Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. It’s nice to take a break with short and breezy.

    Aargh.

  • That sounded complain-y when I do like both of these books, especially the Bryson.
    Just wanted to clarify.

    Also, I would love it if you did book reviews with your vast amounts of spare time. You know, after you get back from the book tour.

  • your writing reaches my brain and makes me smile, pre-morning coffee.
    that shit aint easy. thanks again.

  • I could have written this. I was a summa cum laude English major from an elite college. Today I consume products of the creative imagination only on Blu Ray.

    But Shakespeare wasn’t “highbrow” in his day, nor was Jane Austen. The former wrote for the theatre, swarming with pickpockets and thieves, shut down as immoral not long after his death; the latter for despised and uneducated females, when the novel was still viewed as a dubious art form, little better than gossip or pornography.

    I feel no shame about being a fan of The Wire, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, or Weeds.

  • But, Jenine you got “gauzy”, press and seal, contemporary art and an arrow through the head all in one post. I don’t think you can ask for much more than that.

  • Me likey TV. I’m also a formerly well read English major. I stopped following SM on Twitter, because he was bugging me, but at least I felt guilty about it. Watched him on SNL and The Tonight Show way back when and will always love him for that era.

  • We are apparently on a Steve Martin kick, having watched “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” because I refused to watch “Due Date”; and then, given that success, watching “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”, which turns out to be the rare comedy movie that is even more funny than you remember it being.

    My book reading has dropped ridiculously. I used to read things like “War and Peace” in a week. Now I set goals like “A Book a Month” and feel really awesome when I hit it. Listen, the New Yorker takes some time! And and there are blogs! No really, it is embarrassing. But 12 books a year is not shameful. And I remember them better.

  • “Gauzy” just saved me twenty bucks. I don’t like my books gauzy. Movies neither. I loved Steve Martin back in the day — about up to Roxanne, when I started seeing him as smug and self-congratulatory. (And read some magazine piece about him obsessing over Anne Heche and sounding stalkery.) But SNL Steve? Cruel Shoes, banjo-playing, album Steve? Cracked my teenage self up. Including The Jerk. “The new phone books are here; the new phone books are here!” His little dog Sh*thead…

  • I’ve heard Steve Martin is a super-awesome incredible writer, but I haven’t read any of his books yet. I have this stack on my coffee table that just keeps getting bigger despite the fact I’ve been reading more books than ever in the past year just because they are not glowing and do not require typing. I’m having the exact opposite reaction than you are. I am turning into that old lady with the library card who pretends she doesn’t write on the Internet for a living. ha!

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