[Saturday Reads] #DecolonizeBookshelves2022 – Tragic Humor in Paul Beatty’s “The Sellout”


Myra here.

Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.

The Sellout [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Paul Beatty Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux (2015) ISBN: 0374260508 (ISBN13: 9780374260507) Literary Awards: Booker Prize (2016), Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize Nominee for Comic Fiction (2016), National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction (2015), Hurston/Wright Legacy Award Nominee for Fiction (2016), International Dublin Literary Award Nominee (2017), The Rooster — The Morning News Tournament of Books (2016). Book was given as a gift. Book photos taken by me.

This is the eighth book that I am reviewing / featuring as part of our #DecolonizeBookshelves2022 reading theme from my target list of 25 books (for this year) from This Is The Canon: Decolonize Your Bookshelf In 50 Books (Amazon | Book Depository) – and the second novel written by a male author.

My book log indicates that I started reading the book on April 18 and finished it on May 12 – almost a month. In fact, I have read two other novels while trying to finish this one. Thus far, the male authors I have been reading as part of This Is The Canon have not been resonating with me at all. Here is just an excerpt of what I have written down in my jotted notes:

While supposedly clever (and admittedly it is), it was an angry book with its dark comedic humor. It felt like Will Smith slapping Chris Rock in the face kind of humor where the audience/reader gave the obligatory laughter like a prize, all the while wondering what in hell is happening, the discomfort never leaving you – because the puns are relentless, savage, on point – and ultimately, sad.

At any rate, I am glad I finished reading it, and happy to move on to the next novel.

#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Update: 51 out of target 100

May 28, 2022 at 06:30AM Myra Garces-Bacsal