A few days ago, our director sent around a hipster lit flow chart that had appeared on HuffPost. My initial reaction to it was relief that the good people at GoodReads had categorically disqualified me from hipsterdom (I haven’t read Infinite Jest). But then I remembered that distaste for hipsters is the single most qualifying characteristic for being one, and I teared up behind my oversized plastic glasses.
So instead of deriding hipsters, I’m going to begrudgingly admit to some hipster tendencies (I’m too old and my pants too comfortable to fully embrace the lifestyle) – and say that I really enjoyed a number of books on the flow chart. Actually, one of my all-time favorite books made the cut - Sam Lipsyte’s The Ask. That book is desperately bitter and totally hilarious – and is apparently as dated as I am – so I won’t go too far into it.
Another title on the list, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, is one I just recently finished. It’s memoir in the medium of graphic novel (how hip is that?) and it chronicles Bechdel’s time growing-up in a funeral home. The primary focus of the story is her relationship with her angry, repressed father. He was a man who hid behind a meticulous facade but failed to conceal his inner turmoil – or his desire for young men. Alison (also gay – famously so, in fact) has to come to terms with her father’s sexuality while still learning to navigate her own – the drama of which culminates in a life-changing family tragedy (Fun, right?). Bechdel’s writing is wry and just borders on pretentious, which makes Fun Home a perfect addition to the hipster canon. So hop on your rickety vintage bike and come check it out. – Ransom Jabara, Reference