William Smith, proprietor of Hang Fire Books
, reviewed "A really fascinating novel" from 1943 called I Am Thinking of My Darling
by Vincent McHugh. I just bought a copy on Amazon for 12 cents.
Originally published in 1943, the book is about a happiness virus that spreads across New York City like a plague. The disease makes the afflicted lose their inhibitions, act like they perpetually have 2-3 drinks under their belt (without slurring or clumsiness, they're sharper in fact), and extremely resistant to doing anything they don't want to do.
I Am Thinking of My Darling (Hang Fire Books)
Sounds more like a paradise than a plague right? Problem is that only 10-20% of the populace feel like doing their jobs anymore so law enforcement, public safety, garbage collection etc, go right out the window. And--though the author's description of crowd euphoria is appealing and not conservative or reactionary--some people's euphoric impulses are dangerous to themselves and others.
The protagonist of the novel is a civil servant who's promoted to acting Mayor when the former gets the virus and heads back to Westchester to build model trains. He loves the city in all its particulars and he loves his job (which is why he keeps going even when he gets the virus himself). His wife is an actress who evades him for the entire novel (because her bliss is to take on a series of elaborate character parts) and the chase takes us on a grand tour of the uninhibited city.
The novel feels extremely contemporary and realistic in the city's response to a disaster (so much that I almost put it down after the 50th motion was put before a board, argued about, voted and passed). And the author's descriptions of euphoria and ideas about what happiness means are entertaining and thought provoking.
The book is basically a zombie novel except instead of a walking corpse the infected turn into Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby.
We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War is a new book by veteran Doug Bradley and Craig Werner, professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, about soldiers’ musical memories and the impact of James Brown, Eric Burdon, Country Joe McDonald, and other popular artists on the Vietnam […]
Pop Chart Lab was founded in 2010 by a book editor and a designer, with the modest goal of rendering all of human experience in chart form. Since then they’ve charted a wide array of cultural touchstones. A Visual Guide to Drink is Pop Chart Lab’s comprehensive volume of its most important topics in graphical […]
Hilarious and silly, A Book of Surrealist Games is a fantastic introduction to the surrealist mind-set. In addition to just being fun to peruse, this collection of written, visual and verbal games is great for exercising your mind, and staying creative. In addition to the games, this oddly organized book is packed with poems, illustrations […]
These knitted gloves are here to save the day (and your hands) with an ultra-comfy, double-layer that will allow you to stay warm and use your phone. Now you can take photos on the fly, text, Tinder, and more without letting freezing temperatures get in your way. Plus they work with all touchscreens, so no […]
Store more on your Mac with this microSD memory card adapter.
Carrying this EDC card is like slinging around a handheld toolbox wherever you go. Its minimal design is small enough to fit in your wallet’s billfold, and it’s TSA-compliant so you’ll never leave it behind. It’s got hex wrenches, metric and imperial rulers, flathead and Phillip’s screwdrivers, and a bottle opener so that you’re ready […]