Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:
Synopsis for Modern Romance (from Goodreads):
A hilarious, thoughtful, and in-depth exploration of the pleasures and perils of modern romance from one of this generation’s sharpest comedic voices
At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?
Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?”
But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would find a decent person who lived in their neighborhood. Their families would meet and, after deciding neither party seemed like a murderer, they would get married and soon have a kid, all by the time they were twenty-four. Today, people marry later than ever and spend years of their lives on a quest to find the perfect person, a soul mate.
For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Andrew Cherlin, Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before.
In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world.
SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Nonfiction 2016
Author: Aziz Ansari
Genre: Nonfiction, Humour, Romance, Sociology
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person
Publication Date: June 16, 2015
Source & Format: Audible–Audiobook
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
In the past, I’ve watched a few of Aziz’s stand-up routines and loved to hate his character Tom on Parks and Rec. I found out about his book when he did an interview on the Daily Show explaining its premise and his motivation to do it. He could have gone the traditional routes of writing a book that most comedians do but instead, he decided to look at a serious social question: why is love so hard to find in this modern age? A question that has always been of interest to me.
So while I was curious to learn more about the modern predicaments of love, I also wanted to try listening to an audiobook that wasn’t particularly a celebrity memoir. I wanted to see if I could handle reading a book that was more fact based than personal biography. Would it capture my attention or would it make me feel like I was sitting through a lecture at school? While I didn’t think the latter would be possible with someone like Aziz narrating the story, it was more a question of the content than the author for me.
I find it fascinating when you look at the stats: divorce rates are up, people are staying single longer, many relationships start online and so many other interesting observations when it comes to modern romance. The dating world today is vastly different from what it was 30 years ago–to even 10 years ago!
What I really liked about Aziz’s book was that it explored all of these facts in one way or another. He tackles a little bit of everything, from online dating to lower birth rates in Japan, using his own personal experience as well as the evidence of various studies and focus groups. And he pretty much attempts to answer every question you have on why romantic relationships have evolved in the way that they have.
The Writing / Narration:
This book had a great flow to it. It starts on a more personal note but eventually progresses to more objective views on everything, with Aziz giving little humourous tidbits along the way. It was very easy to listen too for that reason. I felt like each chapter built on the previous and it felt like I was on the journey with Aziz as he attempted to tackle these questions himself.
Aziz isn’t just spouting out random facts or endlessly listing them either–which would make this book boring. Instead of listening through a lecture, I felt like I was listening to a story unfold. So it kept my attention throughout.
Did it Impact My Life?
I learned quite a bit actually from this book. There were some really interesting studies that will probably stick with me for quite a while: like why having more options can be detrimental or why people prefer to text. I also think it made me evaluate my own stance on romance when it comes to my personal life. Not in a huge, life-changing way, but I think it reminded me to remain open and to not let my preconceptions get in the way of potential relationships. Relationships don’t have to be set in stone nor do they have to follow a predetermined path and this book was good at reminding me of that.
My Rating: 4/5
If you like reading about sociology or insights on modern culture but find non-fiction reads to be dry, I highly recommend this book! It was fresh, fun and very easy to follow. I think I would have enjoyed the printed book just as much as the audio–but if you are a fan of Aziz, I recommend the audio book.
Read if You Like: sociology, humour, lighter nonfiction
Avoid if You: want a sociology book with no humour
- Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling