Literary Identity Packs

Jul 7, 2016

My bookshelves overflow, filled with compelling information about the world. Art. History. Sociology. Comics. Curated over years of working in bookstores, and then the ability to expense books for work, quite the weird-girl library has accumulated. But, a twist, I am determined to escape my hoarder lady destiny, and am forcing myself to part ways with some of my faves. To make this fun and lessen the pain, I’ve carved them into Identity Packs, $15 for each one. You pay shipping. Email with your fave.

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Disaffected Young Urbanite Pack

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Sickened by the masses’ acceptance of humanity, you know better, trusting your intrepid sense of integrity to lead you astray from the lie society wants you to lead. Considering a move to Vegas (The History of Vegas, stories by Jodi Angel), Hunter S Thompson book in your pack (Generation of Swine, Gonzo Papers vol 2), you play an LP from the raw, angry years of Sonic Youth (Alabama Wildman, poems by Thurston Moore) on your iPhone. No one understands the life of a Gen X libertarian (Everybody Is Stupid Except For Me, a decade of political comics by Peter Bagge)—this world is yours to decipher alone.






Eager Entry Level Millennial Pack

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You did it! Went out and got a college degree and a job. But the world is not like college. Ideology is not enough (More Than Good Intentions, by Dean Karlan and Jacob Appel). Your boss won’t negotiate deliveries of late work. No one respects your demands for fair trade coffee in the cafeteria, and you’re pretty sure that joke you made at the copier came off racist. (If You Have To Cry, Go Outside, by Kelly Cutrone.) You just wanted to impress everyone at the office with your quick wit, sensitive and respectful political correctness, and knowledge of 15th Century Fashion Design. What you’re quickly realizing is that people just want you to get the job done (How to Be Useful, by Megan Hustad).


American Spending A Semester In Europe Pack

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Western Europe is so vast and diverse, you’re thankful for any guidance and history you can get (Western Europe travel guide). You’re dying to see the real life sites of history class (Sources of World History). But straight up facts can get dull on long train rides (World War Z, by Max Brooks). Thankfully, beer is cheap.


Budding Cult Leader Pack

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Wise, cunning, and ecstatically psychopathic (Valis, by Phillip K Dick), you’ve tried Scientology, Jehovah’s Witnessing, and Chaos Magic. You even went to University of Phoenix for psychology (Rebel With A Cause, by John Sperling)! None of them truly know how to place their callused fingers on the pulse of a malleable lamb and press… press just softly enough to restrict the blood flow to the brain and lead followers deep into an unrecoverable void (Stephen Lives! Ann Puryear’s delusional tale of finding her son’s ghost after his tragic suicide)… But you’ve got the answer! Just a few more notations to make in your handmade goat leather journal (Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior, by Ori Brafman and Ron Brafman). See you at the public library!



Graphic Novel Nerd Pack

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Nothing jerks your emotions like the blend of line and copy. Comics are your heart, your lifeline to the touching and sentimental (Empire State, by Jason Shiga.) Even profanity can be sweet in comics (Palookaville; Sticky-Icky-Icky). Great issues of importance and meaning can be illustrated poetically (The Three Paradoxes, by Paul Hornschmier; Other Lives by Peter Bagge). But your favorite is when words and illustration combine to form something uniquely graphic and expressively original (1-800-MICE, by Matthew Thurber).



Person On The Brink Of An Existential Realization Pack

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Life is fucked-up. You know this, deep in your soul, but are overcome with a nagging suspicion that there is more—there is meaning, and all pain has a purpose. But what about those occasions when it doesn’t (A Slow Death: 83 Days of Radiation Sickness, by Iwanami Shoten)? And when our perversions and preferences subvert the animal intent of sex, not to mention the social mores that bind us (Sexology, Kinky and Kooky Excerpts from America’s First Sex Magazine)? It sometimes feels meaningless—but with a glimmer of hope (X’ed Out, by Charles Burns).



Women’s Studies Major With An Undying Passion For Learning Pack

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“What are you going to use that for?” they asked. “You gonna run a lesbian bookstore?” they joked (Will Work For Drugs, by Lydia Lunch). It was never a choice made to make money (Women’s Madness: Misogyny or Mental Illness? by Jane Ussher). It was not a career path. For you, it was a basic block to life (Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex), to becoming the person you are today (Stories In The Worst Way, by Gary Lutz). It was a journey of realization and growth (In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts, by Gabor Mate). You wouldn’t be this passionate, driven, articulate or wise if you’d majored in Business.



First-Time Creative Director Pack

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Over the cutting board table, defending your serifs and unexpected colorways late into the night, you battled your way through three different bosses, two alcoholic strategists—one a secret cokehead– and a nightmare client who uttered nothing but uninspired mandates (Advertising For People Who Don’t Like Advertising, by Kesselscramer). Now, you’re a creative director with no idea what the hell you’re doing (Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure And Others Don’t). You need inspiration. To learn from those who came before you (The Creative Process, Ilustrated: How Big Ideas Are Born). And most important, how to win this pitch on Friday (The Genius Machine: The 11 Steps That Turn Raw Ideas Into Briliance.)



Hyper Nostalgic Hipster Pack

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Remember when moustaches were cooler than beards? When American Apparel from head-to-toe meant you were a model (Do’s & Don’ts: 10 Years of Vice Magazine’s Street Fashion Critiques)? That time when overlit photography against a white background was fresh? (The Vice Guide To Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll) Man, maybe you remember when street art went legit (Graffiti L.A, by Steve Grody). Or further back, when the 90’s weren’t even nostalgic and still had their 70’s tinged hooks in the beginnings of the 2000’s (Pad: The Guide To Ultra-Living, by Matt Maranian). The 70’s man! The decade that spawned the 80’s (Retro Hell, by the editors of ben is dead magazine)! But everything comes back around again… you and your terrycloth shorts will be ready.




Silver Lake Tinder Date Conversation Pack

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You have no idea who this person is—but they’re hot, and odds are they’re somewhat literate and sufficiently philosophical, so the correct mix of knowledge and wit will send them home with you tonight. You need to be sarcastic and wry (Unpublished, Unknown, Unbelievable, a compilation by McSweeney’s). It would help to toss out an acclaimed fiction book you’ve been reading (Absurdistan, by Gary Shteyngart). If a more intense conversation begins, throwing out existential assumptions can set you up as a lonely genius (The Mystery of Consciousness, John R. Earle). Maybe throw out a little knowledge you picked up in UCB 401 Advanced (Improv Wisdom, by Patricia Ryan Madson). But above all, be sexy (How To Think More About Sex, by Alain De Botton).

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