BreakingModern — Welcome to BreakingModern’s inaugural book club gathering. My name is Jordan Wold and I’ll be your host. I’ll pick a book to review and do my best to generate an ongoing dialog via various social media outlets (mostly Twitter). Let’s get started!
Our first book club selection is Modern Romance by comedian Aziz Ansari and NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg. I know what you’re probably thinking: Great, another 350-page memoir by a comedian featuring stories that were much better when previously told in stand-up or television form. If that’s really what you expect this book to be, you’re entirely wrong. Modern Romance is a different beast altogether.
I love some Parks and Recreation, as well as Ansari’s stand-up comedy, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover Modern Romance. While definitely funny, the book isn’t about the comedian himself. It’s a legitimate, seriously detailed and nuanced look at global romance in 2015. No other book, documentary or scholarly article comes close to exploring contemporary sex and dating the way Ansari and Klinenberg do here. There are actual, real answers provided for questions like, “Why don’t we feel satisfied when there are so many options right at our fingertips?” and “How the hell did anyone find a spouse before the Internet? Were their relationships more or less fulfilling than ours?” Modern Romance contains studies from places like Paris, Buenos Aires, Tokyo … and Witchita, Kan., each of which reveal some sort of shocking statistic. I won’t spoil them for you, because I want you to read the book.
Modern Romance is chiefly successful because of its two collaborators. Klinenberg merges genuinely fascinating study results with Ansari’s light, fun voice in a manner that works better than most could imagine
This isn’t to say Ansari and Klinberg have crafted a perfect work. The last 60 pages drag noticeably and, for a book that’s not even 300 pages long, this is a little bit disappointing. Also, while the information presented is certainly new to me, I would like more detail on many of the subjects. For example, the section regarding the growing lack of sexual interest among younger people in Japan is a good read, but the surface is barely scratched. I guess it would be impossible to present too much research for each topic. Otherwise Ansari and Klinenberg would have to pump out a dozen more books.
All in all, Modern Romance is more than worth your time. Comedian Ansari has found a great partner in sociologist Eric Klinenberg. They’ve written a book that’s eye-opening, often hilarious and truly special. Don’t expect Modern Romance to completely change your life. But at the very least, it might inspire you to fix your Tinder profile.
What did you think of Modern Romance? Sound off on Twitter using hashtag #BModBookClub.
Featured Image Credit: Man reading a book. Wikimedia Commons
Screenshot Image Credit: Jordan Wold