Thursday, July 22, 2010

What Lindsay Lohan should read in jail

Avi Steinberg, a former prison librarian, is the author of the forthcoming book, Running the Books, due out in November.

For The Daily Beast, he named a brief list of books Lindsay Lohan should read while serving her jail sentence. One book on the list:
Super Sad True Love Story
by Gary Shteyngart

We live in a world where a grainy YouTube clip of Lindsay Lohan shopping for books draws a bigger audience than Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin, this year’s National Book Award Winner. Lohan’s personal life seems frightening close to the consumerist dystopia imagined in Gary Shteyngart’s new novel, Super Sad True Love Story. In this painfully funny satire, set in the not-too-distant future, the word “Media” has come to replace “cool,” as in, “that guy is so Media.” Often these words are spoken by Eunice Park, a clever 24-year-old woman who communicates in a constant flow of hip abbreviations, whose beauty belies deep family pain, and who is described as having (literally) “majored in Images, with a minor in Assertiveness.” There is, in short, a good deal of Lindsay in Eunice. If Lohan wants to come to grips with the culture that has created her, and which she has helped create, she should read this book in the quiet of her cell. In other words, before she’s thrust back out into the noise and the cameras.

There are also some books Lohan should not read. She shouldn’t read Sylvia Plath, for example. After doing a photo shoot in which Lohan posed as Marilyn Monroe, one of her heroes, she may be tempted to read, assuming she can get an advanced galley, the forthcoming Fragments, a collection of Marilyn’s personal writings, letters, poems. This is going to be an interesting book, no doubt. With the right perspective, it may even be helpful to Ms. Lohan. But it’s worth skipping. Any time she feels the impulse to read about Marilyn, my advice is this: take out a prison-issue bendy pen and write an old-fashioned letter to Meryl Streep. Whatever reply she gets back will be worth hundreds of books.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue