Tag Archives: Online Relationships

Escape the Ordinary – Brilliant Debut Authors: Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg

ETO Adult Summer Reading Club_For Your LeisureSMALLER

modern romanceFive minutes after opening Aziz Ansari’s debut book I felt compelled to tweet:

“I started @azizansari’s book expecting to be thoroughly charmed. Then he started talking research methods & data and now I am in love, ok?”

This book didn’t just meet every expectation I had going in, it went so far beyond anything I had imagined that I was blown away.

And that rarely happens.

If you hadn’t already gathered, I am a fan of Aziz Ansari. I was endlessly fascinated by his performance as Tom Haverford in Parks and Recreation, a character who doesn’t have a lot of redeeming qualities, but whose charm Ansari nevertheless managed to bring through.

Tom, you slimy charmer, you.

Tom, you slimy charmer, you.

His stand-up is sharp, smart, and truly contemporary in a way that I have not seen anyone else pull off – Ansari speaks for the social media generation, those of us for whom the internet has simply been a fact of life. He has a distinct voice, one that I really appreciate and find pretty consistently funny. So of course I wanted to read his book.

The good news part one: my expectations were met! Ansari’s authorial voice is clear and present throughout Modern Romance. Although he admits in the introduction that he had been reluctant to write a book, because stand-up is really his medium, his personality and especially his humour have translated seamlessly into the written form – I honestly found myself reading the book in his voice, knowing just the tone he would have delivered many of the lines in. And if the book had only been that, I would have been more than satisfied.

But it was so much more than that.

Modern Romance is a book about the contemporary dating scene, where more and more people are meeting online, and even when we do meet in person, we do most of our communicating through the internet or our phones, by writing instead on talking. This is a major topic of Ansari’s stand-up, also, and so I thought I had a pretty good idea of what I was in for.

But the book is not just an extension or a translation of Ansari’s stand-up material. It is actually the culmination of a multi-year sociological study that Ansari undertook with Eric Klinenberg, examining modern dating behaviours, comparing them to the way dating worked for older generations, and taking in quantitative and qualitative data, all coming together into some very real perspectives and advice on navigating the world of modern romance.

Ansari takes you with him through the research process and findings, speaking always in layperson terms, and injecting his personal brand of humour into the discussions in natural and relatable ways.

It’s a great book, an engaging and enjoyable read, and one that just might make you learn something!

If you’ve read the book, I’d like to know:

  • What did you find most surprising about the study’s findings and advice?
  • What are your thoughts on Ansari’s combination of humour and social science? Did the comedy add to or take away from the book’s overall content? Were you annoyed by all that data getting in the way of Ansari’s wit? Or did work for you?
  • Do you have experience with online dating? Do you feel like the book reflected your experiences?

Down-to-Read with Daniela: 51/50: The Magical Adventures of a Single Life by Kristen McGuiness

51 50 magical adventures single life kristen mcguiness paperback cover art photo

Age Group:

Non-Fiction, Memoir, Pyschology, Social Experiment, Relationships, American, Chick-lit, Self-Help

51 dates in 50 weeks. This is the goal that 30-year-old, very single LA transplant Kristen McGuiness sets for herself. Tired of waiting for ‘Mr. Right’ to find her, Kristen embarks on a complex journey to find out what she really wants and get back into the dating game. Troubled by a less than perfect relationship with her convict drug smuggler father- and haunted by memories of previous lovers-Kristen’s got some serious soul searching to do! Kristen lets readers into her mind and her soul, challenging traditional conceptions of love and relationships.

My Thoughts:
McGuiness is a fresh and entertaining writer who knows herself well. In her memoir, we see all sides of her: flirty Kristen, sensible Kristen, reckless Kristen and spiritual Kristen. The great part about this book is that she truly holds nothing back and is not afraid to put her reputation on the line.

Rather than a date-by-date exact replay, McGuiness offers a poignant and introspective look into modern dating, subtly urging us to clean out the dirty ghosts hiding in our metaphorical closets. Kristen is real, and though I could critique some major flaws in the book (such as the loose definition of a ‘date’), I could not help but be pulled in chapter-by-chapter, questioning my own single life and easily putting myself into Kristen’s confused, but determined shoes!

Borrow 51/50: The Magical Adventures of a Single Life from your local Vaughan Library today!

Movie Review: Catfish directed by Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost

Catfish DVD photocatfish nev schulman pic3 photo

In this completely fascinating docu-drama, viewers follow director Ariel’s brother Nev on a mysterious, thrilling and unsettling online journey. Nev, a 24-year-old professional photographer, lives in New York City and works in a studio with his brother Ariel and friend Henry. 

When Ariel and Henry begin filming in late 2007, Nev is at the beginning of a unique friendship with an eight-year-old girl named Abby. Abby painted a beautiful picture of one of Nev’s photographs of two dancers and mailed it to him. The two soon strike up a friendship and Nev begins talking to Abby’s mom Angela. Soon Nev adds Abby and her family members to Facebook, including Abby’s beautiful and multi-talented older sister Megan.

As Nev and Megan begin talking, their relationship soon intensifies and a nine-month long romance ensues. But everything is not quite as it seems. Nev, Ariel and Henry begin to uncover secret after secret. When Nev finally decides to confront Megan and her family, the three travel across the country to Angela’s house in Michigan. What they find there is truly shocking and utterly captivating.

A true product of our times, Catfish is a must see! Add yourself to the hold list today!