Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion

Trick Mirror Reflections on Self Delusion Trick Mirror is an enlightening unforgettable trip through the river of self delusion that surges just beneath the surface of our lives This is a book about the incentives that shape us and about ho

  • Title: Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion
  • Author: Jia Tolentino
  • ISBN: 0525510540
  • Page: 204
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Trick Mirror is an enlightening, unforgettable trip through the river of self delusion that surges just beneath the surface of our lives This is a book about the incentives that shape us, and about how hard it is to see ourselves clearly in a culture that revolves around the self In each essay, Jia writes about the cultural prisms that have shaped her the rise of the ni Trick Mirror is an enlightening, unforgettable trip through the river of self delusion that surges just beneath the surface of our lives This is a book about the incentives that shape us, and about how hard it is to see ourselves clearly in a culture that revolves around the self In each essay, Jia writes about the cultural prisms that have shaped her the rise of the nightmare social internet the American scammer as millennial hero the literary heroine s journey from brave to blank to bitter the mandate that everything, including our bodies, should always be getting efficient and beautiful until we die Get A Copy Kindle Store 13.99 StoresAudibleBarnes NobleWalmart eBooksApple BooksGoogle PlayAbebooksBook DepositoryAlibrisIndigoBetter World BooksIndieBoundLibraries Hardcover, First Edition, 303 pages Published August 6th 2019 by Random House More Details ISBN 0525510540 ISBN13 9780525510543 Edition Language English Other Editions 8 All Editions Add a New Edition Combine Less Detail Edit Details Friend Reviews To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up Reader QA To ask other readers questions about Trick Mirror, please sign up

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    Lists with This Book 48 Books By Women and Nonbinary Authors of Color to Read in 2019 52 books 37 voters Personal Essays that Should be Read 206 books 195 voters More lists with this book Community Reviews Showing 1 30 4.50 Rating details 1,777 ratings 283 reviews All LanguagesEnglish 280 More filters Sort order Mar 17, 2019 Melanie rated it it was amazing I d read Jia Tolentino s grocery lists if she let me flag 289 likesLike see review Kate I know right Aug 06, 2019 05 27PM Abena Anim Somuah Honestly same Aug 17, 2019 10 49PM Hayley I think about her Grub Street Diet every day 36 minutes ago Aug 10, 2019 Michael rated it it was amazing Shelves favorites, 2019 Lucid and enlightening, the essays of Jia Tolentino s debut collection Trick Mirror Reflections on Self Delusion consider what it means for Millennial women to navigate a culture of spectacle, scam, and oppression In sharp prose across nine essays Tolentino takes on everything from the troubling rise of athleisure to America s obsession with reality television, difficult women, and weddings sketching brilliant fragments of cultural history for the digital age, the author demystifies perplexin Lucid and enlightening, the essays of Jia Tolentino s debut collection Trick Mirror Reflections on Self Delusion consider what it means for Millennial women to navigate a culture of spectacle, scam, and oppression In sharp prose across nine essays Tolentino takes on everything from the troubling rise of athleisure to America s obsession with reality television, difficult women, and weddings sketching brilliant fragments of cultural history for the digital age, the author demystifies perplexing trends and passionately critiques a society overtaken by rampant racism and misogyny As with her articles for the New Yorker, Tolentino laces her essays with caustic wit, and she clearly explains and makes accessible complex works of social theory, without stripping concepts of their nuance All the pieces are brilliant and invite rereading flag 72 likesLike see review View all 8 comments May 31, 2019 Oriana rated it it was amazing Shelves phenomenal, zeitgeist y, read 2019 Recently my rad friend B and I got into it about Roxanne Gay s Bad Feminist, which I loudly do not like B argued that it was wrong of me to judge it so harshly because I was not taking into account the deep biases I bring to my own reading I remain unrepentant because those essays are extremely bad, but I do acknowledge that I am only a combination of my life s influences I grew up solidly middle class, I am a cis het woman and a Jew of European heritage, I went to a good liberal arts college Recently my rad friend B and I got into it about Roxanne Gay s Bad Feminist, which I loudly do not like B argued that it was wrong of me to judge it so harshly because I was not taking into account the deep biases I bring to my own reading I remain unrepentant because those essays are extremely bad, but I do acknowledge that I am only a combination of my life s influences I grew up solidly middle class, I am a cis het woman and a Jew of European heritage, I went to a good liberal arts college, and white American intellectual values are the waters in which I have always steeped So perhaps when I say something utterly subjective like those essays are extremely bad, I do only mean that they re bad to me, and if I were a queer black woman like B, raised and taught and influenced in different ways, all my opinions would be completely different Be that as it may, I still am me, I still have the same brain and biases, and I will tell you this Jia Tolentino is exactly everything I fucking love This book to me is basically perfect devastatingly smart and endlessly fascinating and filled with essays that work, that interrogate the modern condition from every angle and leave you gasping with new comprehensions They are deeply researched and wildly illuminating and also even funny, sometimes, when they re not devastating or brutal or so intense you have to put the book down and go take a dazed walk to let your brain synapses cool their firings.Anyway, you don t really need me to tell you about Jia s brilliance, right I mean, she s written and edited everywhere, from the Hairpin to Jezebel to now the New Yorker which excerpted one of this book s best essays Losing Religion and Finding Ecstacy in Houston As of this moment, her release week, she s on a press blitz so thorough that it s the subject of its own roundups and memes If you don t feel like scrolling through, find her profiled on Elle, interviewed on the Paris Review, and reviewed on Vanity Fair see her food picks on Grub Street, her skincare routine on In the Gloss, and her dog on Jezebel I could go on.But you re here, so go ahead and listen to me talk about this book some To wit In one essay she writes about how the internet has fundamentally reoriented the truth so that what s important now is only what s important to me The everyday madness perpetuated by the internet positions personal identity as the center of the universe In another, she dissects the perpetual burden of being an ideal woman in the days of self optimization, managing to tie together chopped salads the perfect mid day nutritional replenishment for the mid level modern knowledge worker , Barre classes the rapid fire series of positions and movements resemble what a ballerina might do if you concussed her and then made her snort caffeine pills , and athleisure tailor made for a time when work is rebranded as pleasure so we will accept of it She writes explosively about the harrowing history of racism and rape at the University of Virginia, her alma matter, linking the recent ill fated and retracted Rolling Stone piece about fraternity rape all the way back to Thomas Jefferson and Saly Hemings in fact, no, all the way back to ancient European youthful war bands wealthy young men who donned wolf hides and roved the forests looking for maidens to snatch, until they came of age and went home to find wives She also writes about difficult women in a piece that considers everyone from Kim Kardashian to Madonna to Hope Hicks I feel as if feminist praxis has turned to acid and eaten through the floor It s as if what s signified sexism itself has remained so intractable that we ve mostly given up on rooting out its actual workings She also writes about the lie of the literary heroine, the history of the conman, the Fyre Festival, her time on a reality show as a teenager, corporate feminism, recoiling at the idea of marriage, and who even knows, everything else under the fucking sun She is so smart and so savvy and so, so good, and I hope she s already at work on her next collection, because I cannot believe I ll have to go back to reading other people s essays now flag 59 likesLike see review View all 11 comments Amy Spence I love this I could barely get through Bad Feminist the writing is just TERRIBLE I m now really excited to read this book Thanks for this revie I love this I could barely get through Bad Feminist the writing is just TERRIBLE I m now really excited to read this book Thanks for this review Sep 01, 2019 10 06PM Oriana Oh thank you I was wondering if I should have left Roxanne out of this, but I think it really situates things in the, like, modern essay canon I ho Oh thank you I was wondering if I should have left Roxanne out of this, but I think it really situates things in the, like, modern essay canon I hope you love Jia as much as I do 13 hours, 46 min ago Jul 04, 2019 Blair rated it really liked it review of another edition Shelves read on kindle, 2019 release, non fiction, netgalley, essays I don t know if I m going to have the time to write about this in the depth I would like, so I will just say that I finished Trick Mirror feeling I d probably read any article Jia Tolentino writes about any topic, and I d definitely read her memoirs The personal stories woven through these essays bring the book to vibrant life The autobiographical essays tend to be the strongest, particularly Reality TV Me , in which Tolentino revisits her experience of competing on a TV show at the age of 16 I don t know if I m going to have the time to write about this in the depth I would like, so I will just say that I finished Trick Mirror feeling I d probably read any article Jia Tolentino writes about any topic, and I d definitely read her memoirs The personal stories woven through these essays bring the book to vibrant life The autobiographical essays tend to be the strongest, particularly Reality TV Me , in which Tolentino revisits her experience of competing on a TV show at the age of 16 this essay could easily pass as a brilliant short story We Come from Old Virginia , in which she reckons with the controversial history of her alma mater, the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and Ecstasy , about religion and drugs, in which she writes hypnotically about the woozy hip hop subgenre of chopped and screwed Chopped and screwed mimics the lean feeling a heady and dissociative security, as if you re moving very slowly towards a conclusion you don t need to understand It induces a sense of permissive disorientation that melds perfectly to Houston, a place where a full day can pass in time lapse without you ever getting off the highway, where the caustic gleam of daytime melts into a fluorescent polluted sunset and then into a long and swampy night I can t remember the last time I read non fiction and came away with such a fierce sense of the author as a person, which, I think, is partly because Tolentino is so unlike the cliche raised in an evangelical megachurch in the American south a straight A student as a teenager, but also a cheerleader and a reality TV star blithely, unapologetically open about her past and current drug use It s not just that she s a happy extrovert though this in itself is unusual enough to stand out as memorable but that this aspect of her character shines bright through her writing without obscuring it Indeed, it s not the subjects of the essays that really leave an impression, but the way Tolentino writes around them, and the impression they create of the author as a luminous person, full of impossible confidence both as an individual and in her craft someone I am ravenously jealous of.So, yes, this is a collection of essays about modern society and pop culture by a young female writer, and there are many other examples of that kind of thing You might feel there are already enough of them in the world that this one doesn t need your attention But I can also honestly say I have never read anything quite like Trick Mirror.I received an advance review copy of Trick Mirror from the publisher through NetGalley.TinyLetter Twitter Instagram Tumblr flag 31 likesLike see review Apr 18, 2019 Sarah rated it really liked it review of another edition Shelves netgalley, essays, non fiction It took me a while to get used to Jia Tolentino s style of writing the essays jump around a bit at times and get a little stream of consciousness y but there are some real gems in this collection For me she s at her best when talking about social media, gender, women and media, but I found something to admire or enjoy in almost all of the essays in this personal collection Thank you Netgalley and 4th Estate for the advance copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest review. flag 20 likesLike see review View 1 comment Aug 15, 2019 Kelly rated it really liked it Shelves owned, examined lives, identity crisis, 21st century, philosophy theory criticism, wits and fools I really loved this I ve been reading Jia Tolentino s stuff ever since she started at Jezebel we re roughly the same age and she got assigned stuff I was guaranteed to click on, so I ve read a fair amount Some of her NYer pieces were even better, after she was freed from needing to write in Internet witty speak all the time and could show other tricks and styles she had up her sleeve And I d say those two voices and experiences are about equally on display here, to mostly utterly fantastic e I really loved this I ve been reading Jia Tolentino s stuff ever since she started at Jezebel we re roughly the same age and she got assigned stuff I was guaranteed to click on, so I ve read a fair amount Some of her NYer pieces were even better, after she was freed from needing to write in Internet witty speak all the time and could show other tricks and styles she had up her sleeve And I d say those two voices and experiences are about equally on display here, to mostly utterly fantastic effect.Seriously though, some of this was straight up brilliant The I in Internet and Always Be Optimizing, should be read in college classes and debated on tv by public intellectuals, if this country had such a thing Optimizing in particular hit me where I lived and I read it several times over There s a great excerpt of it in The Guardian from a few weeks ago that you should all check out I thought Story of a Generation in Seven Scams was a really well laid out argument for why a lot of millennials politics and choices in their own lives may have turned out the way they did, given the parade of lies and con jobs that was the years of our awakening to political consciousness from the Iraq War to the financial crisis to to bogus VC firms to the student debt crisis to our current president When you put it all together like that I hope at least a few Boomer heads hang in shame The Cult of the Difficult Woman was strong too I loved the part where she tried to start a hard conversation around criticizing the appearance of conservative spokeswomen as a crucial part of the work they do in defending the ideas they re paid to defend and how sometimes looks can be up for discussion, with a point behind the observation that is relevant beyond as hominem attacks I respected the attempt to come to terms with her teenage choice to go on reality TV in Reality TV Me but while she made a good start, the essay ultimately failed at its apparent intentions of being honest with herself she ended on a note of defending her actions and pointing out her specialness despite everything It s a hard task, I know, but maybe she needed to wait a few years to disconnect a bit I thought Ecstasy had some lovely lines and images because she s a fantastic writer but was somewhat overwrought and made a not very original point about the feelings produced by drugs and religion having a lot in common Pure Heroines was fine but a bit too neat it read like a school essay , and I Thee Dread wasn t finished yet I think it should have been cut until she was ready to take it further than she did.But overall, this is a thoughtful, perceptive, beautifully written, highly relevant collection of essays on 21st century society s major issues, particularly those to do with self presentation, seeking connection and negotiating being a woman with truth and integrity in a world that is still nowhere near equal And I can only imagine she ll get better as she keeps writing I bought this in hardback at the actual bookstore the day it came out and I ll do the same for whatever her next collection may be She s earned it flag 20 likesLike see review View all 3 comments Aug 07, 2019 Perry rated it it was amazing review of another edition RTC An essay collection that s Fresh, Brilliant, Cerebrally Stimulating and Boundary Expanding for this Gen X male, to be sure The New Yorker has to be proud to have Jia Tolento as its millennial cultural critic For the first time since I do not recall when, I am fired up about spending a few hours of my weekend revisiting several favorite parts of a book and writing a 5 star review.I am grateful to Random House and NetGalley for an ARC flag 18 likesLike see review Apr 23, 2019 Claire Reads Books rated it it was amazing Fantastic The nine essays in this razor sharp collection circle around the notions of identity and the self that have become all important and inescapable in the Internet era With remarkable clarity and her formidable intellect, Tolentino highlights the distortions and self delusions that have festered on digital platforms and begun to spread into our analog lives and she considers the intellectual rewiring that might be necessary to free us from our overinflated selves Highly recommended Fantastic The nine essays in this razor sharp collection circle around the notions of identity and the self that have become all important and inescapable in the Internet era With remarkable clarity and her formidable intellect, Tolentino highlights the distortions and self delusions that have festered on digital platforms and begun to spread into our analog lives and she considers the intellectual rewiring that might be necessary to free us from our overinflated selves Highly recommended full review here Advance copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley all opinions are my own. flag 16 likesLike see review Dec 04, 2018 Ash marked it as to read I ve been waiting for this book She s written so many great, important things, but my favorite is still this review of Rude for The Hairpin flag 14 likesLike see review View 1 comment Aug 18, 2019 Conor rated it it was amazing Shelves author nonwhite, author female, non fiction, books i evangelize for If the attendees of my gay book club and various members of grouptexts are any indication, the Jia hype is for real She has become something of a tribune for the millennial generation funny and razor sharp, introspective and curious, she writes in a way that very often feels inspired I followed Jia as she developed through stints at the Awl, the Hairpin, Jezebel, and finally the New Yorker, where she seems to have finally encountered an audience commensurate to her talents and the importance If the attendees of my gay book club and various members of grouptexts are any indication, the Jia hype is for real She has become something of a tribune for the millennial generation funny and razor sharp, introspective and curious, she writes in a way that very often feels inspired I followed Jia as she developed through stints at the Awl, the Hairpin, Jezebel, and finally the New Yorker, where she seems to have finally encountered an audience commensurate to her talents and the importance of the issues she grapples with Reading this book was a bit surreal not only does Jia s work resonate as someone who belongs to the generation whose interests and experience are central to her writing, but we also ran in similar circles at the same college It s odd enough to have someone describe the honeyed and cosseted life of your college experience to you, but it s even weirder to think I was at that Girl Talk show where you talk about doing MDMA for the first time and I know this person whose peacock wedding you re describing Jia and I orbited in similar circles at UVA I was friends with a lot of people in her sorority and she was only a year below us but I don t recall any particular interactions in college aside from one email exchange we had joking about As I Lay Dying sequels But I have no desire to overstate or state a relationship for cool points Ultimately I didn t have any strong impression of her upon graduation other than that a lot of people I was and am still friends with thought she was next level cool It wasn t until a few years later that traces of the numinous mind we re familiar with in 2019 began to surface She had this amazing blog which she has regrettably made private where she would say brilliant, pithy, poignant, piercing things about books, people, the Peace Corps, etc I read it assiduously, and kicked myself for not getting to know her in college it turned me onto among others Winesburg, Ohio At a certain point the blog dried up and I continue to mourn its loss, but Jia s writing continued to sharpen as it became better known on the aforementioned sites I remember in particular one post about her sitting in a cafe in Central Asia, going to the bathroom, and coming back to realize that she had left her laptop out to be stolen, and with it the novel she had been working on and had not saved to the cloud, or email, or whatever people were doing in the early aughts to save their work I remember thinking what a shame it was that some person stole and probably destroyed this laptop for a few hundred bucks, considering the work of intelligence and insight and perspective it no doubt contained But I also remember mourning as a reader who would never get a chance to read her thoughts in book form So it was with nostalgic excitement that I picked up Trick Mirror, likely unimaginable at the time of the theft, and read Jia s first book And it was just as entertaining, insightful, glancing, and tender as are the articles on which she built her reputation, and just as indicative of the thoughtfulness I ve admired from afar, hopefully not too creepily, for the past decade flag 16 likesLike see review View all 4 comments Aug 07, 2019 Lou rated it it was amazing Trick Mirror is both a timely and relevant book featuring essays with heart, soul, power and FIRE in their words than any other work of nonfiction I have enjoyed in 2019 Talented New Yorker Tolentino shows promise in terms of following in the incredibly successful footsteps of writers such as Zadie Smith whose own glorious collections of long form pieces stoked my imaginatory fire at the time The pieces are full of breadth and depth that makes them not only a pleasure to read but intensel Trick Mirror is both a timely and relevant book featuring essays with heart, soul, power and FIRE in their words than any other work of nonfiction I have enjoyed in 2019 Talented New Yorker Tolentino shows promise in terms of following in the incredibly successful footsteps of writers such as Zadie Smith whose own glorious collections of long form pieces stoked my imaginatory fire at the time The pieces are full of breadth and depth that makes them not only a pleasure to read but intensely thought provoking and inspiring too In this time of great anxiety and division, many are looking for a guiding light to illuminate their way out of the dark, and it appears Tolentino has taken the helm with than enough wisdom, wit and scalpel sharp observation to craft powerful individual articles on a broad spectrum of topics relating to contemporary American culture, interwoven with the author s interesting autobiographical information.Within she touches on recurring themes of the American dream, feminism, the rise of the internet and social media, disillusionment, loneliness, gender identity, LGBTQIA relations, current political stances and persuasions in the US, the METOO movement, corruption of morality, sexual harassment, misogyny, traditionalism vs modern materialism, religion, drug use, the cult of popularism, reality television, and the role the mainstream media plays in propagating half truths and increasingly hatred which is now having such devastating consequences Tolentino has some really valid and important points to make on a plethora of different themes and the book is primarily presented in the stream of consciousness style Each of the nine essays is quite profound and all are interlinked by an underlying darkness and discussed in terms of their pros and cons.With sensitivity and charm, a feat not as easy to achieve as she may make it look throughout, there s no doubt that Tolentino is a writer to watch and one I hope gets the recognition she deserves for this captivating anthology At the very least a wide readership, but I feel this is very much award winning material It is a beautiful, emotional and often brutally honest collection that never failed to move me written by a twenty first century wordsmith akin to the majesty of Joan Didion and Zadie Smith s works Her words are literal and metaphorical FIRE A work of nonfiction that I can wholeheartedly recommend to all with some real gems scattered amongst the pages and phrases that are seared into my memory Amongst my top 5 reads of the year so far without a doubt and one of the most rewarding, unflinching and multifaceted explorations of popular culture today Many thanks to 4th Estate for an ARC flag 12 likesLike see review Apr 10, 2019 Alice rated it it was amazing I had to take breaks between these essays They are so sharp and juicy and confronting, and needed time to absorb This is the kind of book that makes you want to avoid reading anything else for a while, so that its ideas can keep ping ponging around your brain undiluted Between the waves of dread and horror at what the world and specifically, my own generation has become, this book has also given me a thread of hope and clarity as to how I might change my habits, expectations, and value I had to take breaks between these essays They are so sharp and juicy and confronting, and needed time to absorb This is the kind of book that makes you want to avoid reading anything else for a while, so that its ideas can keep ping ponging around your brain undiluted Between the waves of dread and horror at what the world and specifically, my own generation has become, this book has also given me a thread of hope and clarity as to how I might change my habits, expectations, and values for the better, attempting some degree of escape from the raging mess that we all watch and participate in almost constantly through our screens flag 12 likesLike see review May 29, 2019 David Wineberg rated it really liked it Jia Tolentino s Trick Mirror is particularly difficult to review It failed me, but I know with total certainty that it will be praised as precious in many quarters So I have to appreciate it for what it is, and not what it didn t do for me It will appeal to a large and specific audience, and that needs to be recognized in any review of it I learned this from Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, who, to my young amazement, gave an Arnold Schwarzenegger film their thumbs up, knowing that it had no plo Jia Tolentino s Trick Mirror is particularly difficult to review It failed me, but I know with total certainty that it will be praised as precious in many quarters So I have to appreciate it for what it is, and not what it didn t do for me It will appeal to a large and specific audience, and that needs to be recognized in any review of it I learned this from Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, who, to my young amazement, gave an Arnold Schwarzenegger film their thumbs up, knowing that it had no plot, terrible writing, poor acting and no redeeming values But they recognized it would be a blockbuster film that satisfied millions of fans, who would quote it endlessly for months There was no point judging it by any other standards So while what I say next can be construed as criticism, let me plant the firm notion that it is not criticism It is description.The book is a collection of nine new essays They are founded in memoirs, and flower into surveys of the literature and associations on the topic Most of the topics are feminist The essays often wander, but rarely dive They skim they remain largely superficial Tolentino loves to drop names from pop culture, which readers should still recognize today, and relate to, but which will make the book unreadable in a few years, as all those people are forgotten She doesn t like introducing people or giving their credentials, but finds them authoritative nonetheless She interviewed no one for this book.Tolentino goes broad but usually not deep She is all about headlines For many readers, this will be revelation enough, but Tolentino breaks no new ground, leaves no lasting suggestion, and will change no one s perspective It is rather a demonstration of her ability to assimilate the state of the culture, and she demonstrates it very well She writes with a firm hand.She doesn t demonstrate a new way to look at the world There are no new takeaways from this book It largely lacks humor, except perhaps for the essay on weddings Tolentino doesn t stake out a persona for herself like other feminist writers do Outside of her continuing defense and mourning of Hillary Clinton, she remains fair and neutral for an admitted left leaner.The best chapter is the one on sexual harassment She explores it from numerous vantage points, discusses a major case of false claims, and the conundrum of how to tackle the problem, which her own school failed at, famously and miserably though it won 3 million in a suit against Rolling Stone.There is a chapter on fictional heroines, where Tolentino often resorts to simply listing books that have heroines She quotes fictional heroines as if their lines were Truth The essay shows she is an avid reader, but not much.She was a contestant in a TV reality show while in high school, and doubles the length of the essay about it with endless pointless synopses from the show, which has been long forgotten along with the cable network that aired it Once, she was recognized in a store in a mall.This is the second book I have reviewed of memoirs from someone too young to write them Tolentino is now 30 The other was 27 I don t think people under 30 have the perspective to do justice to even their own lives Basically, it is too early to wax nostalgic about the 2000s.Too predictably, Trick Mirror focuses on growing up in Houston , the internet she was hooked at the age of ten , school a Baptist megachurch , college UVA Charlottesville , the constant pressure to look good, drugs party variety and weddings she has spent 35k on other people s weddings A typical middle class American life Sadly, there is only a page on her perspective changing year in the Peace Corps in very Islamic Kyrgyzstan It would have made the best essay To her immense credit, Tolentino uses these events and eras as launch pads to go on rants and tirades about religion, date rape, feminism, and politics So far than simply memoirs, Trick Mirror adds value Not new value, but value nonetheless.David Wineberg flag 9 likesLike see review View 1 comment Aug 21, 2019 Barry Pierce rated it liked it review of another edition Shelves 21st century, read in 2019 Read my review on my blog flag 11 likesLike see review View 2 comments Jul 28, 2019 Mara rated it liked it Shelves ebook owned, arc, recommended to me 3.5 stars I am bumping this up a half star for the moments of charm and personal stylistic flair that shine through from time to time in this collection In general, this is a perfectly enjoyable essay collection for those interested in topics surrounding pop culture, media, and gender, and I would recommend this to anyone with those interests I m not sure that this totally comes together as a collection, however, which keeps this from feeling like a stand out work That said, if you ve read 3.5 stars I am bumping this up a half star for the moments of charm and personal stylistic flair that shine through from time to time in this collection In general, this is a perfectly enjoyable essay collection for those interested in topics surrounding pop culture, media, and gender, and I would recommend this to anyone with those interests I m not sure that this totally comes together as a collection, however, which keeps this from feeling like a stand out work That said, if you ve read enjoyed Tolentino s work previously, I don t think this will let you down Looking forward to from this author in the future flag 7 likesLike see review Aug 17, 2019 Alanna Why rated it it was amazing There was a solid year where I would find a random New Yorker floating around the office at my job and read an incredible article that blew me away, only to look at the byline and see the same name, repeated over and over again Jia Tolentino With nine brand new essays written exclusively for this collection, Trick Mirror surpassed my expectations of what Tolentino s writing could be Whether she is writing about being cast on a reality TV show as a teenager, or the pitfalls of modern feminist There was a solid year where I would find a random New Yorker floating around the office at my job and read an incredible article that blew me away, only to look at the byline and see the same name, repeated over and over again Jia Tolentino With nine brand new essays written exclusively for this collection, Trick Mirror surpassed my expectations of what Tolentino s writing could be Whether she is writing about being cast on a reality TV show as a teenager, or the pitfalls of modern feminist pop culture analysis, Tolentino s words are insightful, smart as hell, and best of all, really fucking funny All the essays hit a chord with me for different reasons Pure Heroines articulated something about reading women authors and characters that I have often thought about over the past two years but have been unable to fully express The Story of a Generation in Seven Scams is one of the best pieces of writing I have read about millennials and how we got into this current mess of a nightmare hell scape, period We Come From Old Virginia is a nuanced and empathetic look at the epidemic of rape and sexual assault on college campuses, with a focus on the University of Viriginia, Tolentino s alma mater And I Thee Dread had a reference to Bobby Finger s wedding, which both surprised and delighted the devout Who Weekly listener in me If Sally Rooney is the first great millennial fiction writer, then Tolentino is our first great cultural critic I can t wait to read what she writes next flag 7 likesLike see review Aug 01, 2019 Jaclyn sixminutesforme rated it really liked it This was an engaging collection of essays, sharp and entertaining and I found the time flew while reading them I appreciate a collection that can traverse topics like Soul Cycle and wedding culture, but that can also hold my interest when talking about agency in narratives, politics, and difficult women Definitely one I d recommend picking up.Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC flag 6 likesLike see review Apr 30, 2019 Bailey added it Shelves female author, advance copy, 2019, essays, internet Jia Tolentino has been the realest deal for a while and this book cements it She s like Cheryl Strayed s intensely empathetic understanding of humanity meets what it means to be a millennial remember, we are aged 25 38 now , and the connections she makes are affirming and scorching at the same time Jia has a long track ahead of her and this is just the start Should be noted I work for the publisher but this is my personal opinion flag 7 likesLike see review Aug 06, 2019 Natasha rated it it was amazing This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here I wrote a polished review because I had a lot to say and am frankly kind of lonely and I wanted to put my thoughts somewhere other than Into The Void, where they usually go Reading the press about Trick Mirror, I ve heard lots of writers describe Jia Tolentino as the Joan Didion of our time This is an interesting comparison not just because of their incisive, spare prose and their uncanny voice of a generation ability to capture the current moment, but because both have taken I wrote a polished review because I had a lot to say and am frankly kind of lonely and I wanted to put my thoughts somewhere other than Into The Void, where they usually go Reading the press about Trick Mirror, I ve heard lots of writers describe Jia Tolentino as the Joan Didion of our time This is an interesting comparison not just because of their incisive, spare prose and their uncanny voice of a generation ability to capture the current moment, but because both have taken on a similar form of literary celebrity Haley Mlotek, in a perfect essay for the Awl, described Joan Didion as a mental shortcut, a pure signifier for what s hip and cool I think Tolentino functions in a similar way for kids these days she works for a prestigious World Trade Center magazine but writes about my wife and JUUL, she chases high end rigatoni with Fireball.To be clear this reductive analysis of her public persona has nothing to do with her very good writing, or even Tolentino herself, necessarily But it sometimes makes me feel weird about her cultural criticism, in that it seems like she has her cake and eats it too, criticizing the always grinding personal brand vibe of social media while also reaping the benefits of her digital savvy personal marketing.Trick Mirror didn t exactly dispel these concerns, but it did contextualize them Trick Mirror s subtitle reflections on self delusion foreshadows Tolentino s approach to cultural criticism Traditionally, we expect the cultural critic to be a source of moral authority, but Tolentino often self deprecates, using the first person to detail her reluctant participation in the destructive forces she criticizes the internet, capitalism, etc She too sometimes goes to overpriced exercise classes in the mornings and shovels forkfuls of nutrition optimized salad in the afternoons she too inhales hot takes, attempting to cultivate the right opinions but wondering if any of it actually makes a difference I have always accommodated everything I wish I were opposed to, she writes Cultural criticism quickly turns into self criticism and vice versa.This was comforting after all, I spent this morning uselessly worrying about whether or not I will finally capitulate to the paraprofessional power of social media and Get A Twitter Trick Mirror feels honest, and, to use a loaded Personal Essay Industrial Complex term, relatable.But it s also pretty bleak How is it possible that so much of contemporary life feels so arbitrary and so inescapable she asks There s no answer Reading Trick Mirror, it seems that one can only submit to the totalizing force of contemporary culture, no matter how bad it feels Tolentino suggests that we shouldn t feel naively fatalistic, but doesn t provide any real alternative In Trick Mirror, the only way out of our current hellscape is either a people making the world a better place through concrete footwork Who are they Tolentino not me or b total economic collapse Is this true God, I hope not But writing this review, I m just another person sitting in front of a computer screen, having an opinion as if it were an end in itself rather than a first step towards something, as Tolentino so perfectly put it.Yes, in so accurately and beautifully diagnosing the issues of the contemporary moment Tolentino succeeds You step out of the trick mirror s frame and see the world a little clearly But the question, at least for me, still stands what next flag 5 likesLike see review View 1 comment Aug 16, 2019 Kusaimamekirai rated it really liked it There is so much to say here Jia Tolentino s Trick Mirror is at times an incredibly insightful, lucid, and powerful critique of social media, the wedding industry, reality tv, women in children s fiction, self improvement culture, and so, so much It is hard not to be incredibly impressed by Tolentino s ability to dissect these issues with such skill and at times wit Yet all of that being said, I was incredibly disappointed with her seeming inability to come to terms with her own place There is so much to say here Jia Tolentino s Trick Mirror is at times an incredibly insightful, lucid, and powerful critique of social media, the wedding industry, reality tv, women in children s fiction, self improvement culture, and so, so much It is hard not to be incredibly impressed by Tolentino s ability to dissect these issues with such skill and at times wit Yet all of that being said, I was incredibly disappointed with her seeming inability to come to terms with her own place and responsibility for what she decries But let s begin with the good While almost all of these essays are quite powerful, I was particularly struck by her analysis of social media Taking us back to her teenage years and the years of Myspace, Aol, and crude homemade blogs, the internet of today is in every respect unrecognizable from those days From a space where people can share mutual and occasionally obscure interests to the hostile and aggressive space it seems like today, Tolentino wonders why in fact, we willingly subject ourselves to it Lately I ve been wondering how everything got so intimately terrible, and why, exactly, we keep playing along How did a huge number of people begin spending the bulk of our disappearing free time in an openly torturous environment How did the internet get so bad, so confining, so inescapably personal, so politically determinative and why are all those questions asking the same thing We seem to have locked ourselves into a miserable dungeon of our own creation where the door is open to escape but we somehow lack the courage to walk through it Tolentino argues that part of the reason is we as human creatures innately desire an audience Whether that be at a wedding, being with our friends, or whatever it is we do at work We are in a sense always performing In the past we could, when we returned to our homes provided we lived alone I suppose have a moment to recharge A moment where we do not have to perform and can be ourselves The internet of today, and social media in particular, has erased all of that however Now we perform 24 7 If our picture of our Starbucks latte gets less likes on Facebook than our friend s picture of their puppy, we sink into existential dread and feel like we are somehow not living the optimal life that everyone else is It s truly a downward spiral and one that we seem incapable of escaping from We can of course leave Facebook, leave Twitter and whatever other platforms we use but that is in a sense a one way ticket to social ostracism If we alone amongst our friends and family lack an online presence, we begin to feel like we don t exist in this world where being online IS existence As Tolentino writes Even if you distance yourself from Facebook, you still live in the world that Facebook is shaping Facebook, using our native narcissism and our desire to connect with other people, captured our attention and our behavioral data it used this attention and data to manipulate our behavior, to the point that nearly half of America began relying on Facebook for the news The other problem Tolentino sees is opinion culture Even in the early days of the Internet, there were always cranks, far out conspiracy theories, and yes white nationalists, Without social media however, their views were largely confined to corners of the internet where only those actively searching them out could find them Today however, these views are spread in the blink of an eye via platforms like Twitter Not only are they shared but because so many people are fighting to have their voices heard, it is usually only the most sensational, the most virulent, whose voices are heard The louder you shout, the clicks you ll get It truly is a race to the bottom with no end in sight Which is where my only criticism of Tolentino comes in Formerly a writer for the self professed feminist site Jezebel, Tolentino while being critical of people who engage in this practice, readily admits that she engaged in these practices herself for profit I have benefited, I mean, from the internet s unhealthy focus on opinion This focus is rooted in the way the internet generally minimizes the need for physical action you don t have to do much of anything but sit behind a screen to live an acceptable, possibly valorized, twenty first century life The internet can feel like an astonishingly direct line to reality click if you want something and it ll show up at your door two hours later a series of tweets goes viral after a tragedy and soon there s a nationwide high school walkout but it can also feel like a shunt diverting our energy away from action, leaving the real world sphere to the people who already control it, keeping us busy figuring out the precisely correct way of explaining our lives In the run up to the 2016 election and increasingly so afterward, I started to feel that there was almost nothing I could do about ninety five percent of the things I cared about other than form an opinion and that the conditions that allowed me to live in mild everyday hysterics about an unlimited supply of terrible information were related to the conditions that were, at the same time, consolidating power, sucking wealth upward, far outside my grasp There is almost a sense that, yes she profited by contributing to something that was clearly harming society, but there was nothing she could as it was out of my grasp Was it though She returns to this quasi mea culpa in a later essay when discussing monetized feminism I know this because my own career has depended to some significant extent on feminism being monetizable As a result, I live very close to this scam category, perhaps even inside it attempting to stay on the ethical side, if there is one, of a blurry line between woman who takes feminism seriously and woman selling her feminist personal brand I ve avoided the merchandise, the cutesy illustrated books about badass historical women, the coworking spaces and corporate panels and empowerment conferences, but I am a part of that world and I benefit from it even if I criticize its emptiness I am complicit no matter what I do She acknowledges her complicity again, and again offers no sense that she will be stopping anytime That she semi revoked the apology by saying at least she doesn t do cutesy merchandise feels like a copout at best If you are aware you are doing something harmful, and continue to do that harmful thing, does it in a sense prevent you from being critical of others engaging in the same thing For Tolentino, apparently not The honest avenues keep contracting and dead ending There are fewer and fewer options for a person to survive in this ecosystem in a thoroughly defensible way.I still believe, at some inalterable level, that I can make it out of here After all, it only took about seven years of flogging my own selfhood on the internet to get to a place where I could comfortably afford to stop using to save fifteen minutes and five dollars at a time I tell myself that these tiny scraps of relief and convenience and advantage will eventually accumulate into something transformative that one day I will ascend to an echelon where I won t have to compromise any, where I can really behave thoughtfully, where some imaginary future actions will cancel out all the self interested scrabbling that came before This is a useful fantasy, I think, but it s a fantasy We are what we do, and we do what we re used to, and like so many people in my generation, I was raised from adolescence to this fragile, frantic, unstable adulthood on a relentless demonstration that scamming pays This feels not only like an excuse to continue in behavior she knows is wrong Someday I will stop, I swear, but it s not really my fault because this is society and I m just a product of it , but not an apology at all For all the wonderful aspects of these essays, and they truly are wonderful, they are slightly tainted by the hypocrisy of the author You don t get points for being self aware if the behavior you are self aware about never changes flag 4 likesLike see review View 2 comments Aug 19, 2019 Nicola rated it liked it A bit of a mixed bag Highlights The first essay, The I in Internet, is excellent Always Be Optimizing had some great ideas but a bit circular and seemed to be holding something back The personal experience essays, Reality TV Me and Ecstacy were diverting enough, I enjoyed them Downsides Some of the essays cover some really well worn ground at this point Often, the context and asides are too heavy on research and info dumping that isn t fully relevant, or it s just dull Several times I fel A bit of a mixed bag Highlights The first essay, The I in Internet, is excellent Always Be Optimizing had some great ideas but a bit circular and seemed to be holding something back The personal experience essays, Reality TV Me and Ecstacy were diverting enough, I enjoyed them Downsides Some of the essays cover some really well worn ground at this point Often, the context and asides are too heavy on research and info dumping that isn t fully relevant, or it s just dull Several times I felt like I was waiting around for the point to emerge We Come From Old Virginia , and sometimes there was no thesis at all Pure Heroines A few essays and sections simply failed to catch my interest I like Tolentino, but I think I prefer her ideas in shorter form and fully distilled flag 6 likesLike see review Aug 12, 2019 Wendy Liu rated it it was amazing Shelves essay collections Loved it I would broadly categorise this as a feminist book, but one that covers a wider range of topics than you might expect for a feminist book, and which is piercingly critical of mainstream liberal feminism Some things my favourite essays touched on what it means to build a self in an era defined by reality TV the need for perpetual self optimisation, and how that manifests for women in particular and the role of scams in modern day capitalism from Fyre Festival to Theranos to student Loved it I would broadly categorise this as a feminist book, but one that covers a wider range of topics than you might expect for a feminist book, and which is piercingly critical of mainstream liberal feminism Some things my favourite essays touched on what it means to build a self in an era defined by reality TV the need for perpetual self optimisation, and how that manifests for women in particular and the role of scams in modern day capitalism from Fyre Festival to Theranos to student debt.Overall, I found it to be a very engaging read The writing is a mix of incisive cultural analysis, moving personal essay, and gently political persuasion Recommended for leftists and or women sick of Lean In feminism flag 4 likesLike see review Aug 12, 2019 Aaron S rated it it was amazing A MUST READ flag 4 likesLike see review View 1 comment Aug 05, 2019 Never Without a Book rated it it was amazing Jia Tolentino is a bad ass I have nothing negative to say about this collection I LOVED IT I highly recommend flag 6 likesLike see review Aug 14, 2019 Mr Masterson rated it it was amazing Tolentino puts into artful and elegant words the feelings and premonitions you ve had for a while, but have been unable to articulate properly She s been thinking about the same things and observing the same things that many of us have been thinking and observing, especially since we re all so online these days But, as a friend put it, her writing is extremely clear, and the analytical tools she has at her disposal are helpful, and the connections she makes are interesting and provocative Tolentino puts into artful and elegant words the feelings and premonitions you ve had for a while, but have been unable to articulate properly She s been thinking about the same things and observing the same things that many of us have been thinking and observing, especially since we re all so online these days But, as a friend put it, her writing is extremely clear, and the analytical tools she has at her disposal are helpful, and the connections she makes are interesting and provocative I feel like I ve been searching for a book like this for a long time I want to evangelize many of the ideas in this book, but after a first reading, I really don t think I could do them justice when putting them into my own words Part of this is definitely due to the fact that I read the book so quickly It was so damn good that I devoured it in just a few bites I now feel like I ve injected Tia Tolentino into my veins, when what I should have done is taken the book as a seven course meal with wine pairings I m sure there are many critiques to be had, but I was unable to log them while in the frenzy of freebasing For example, a friend commented that one weakness in the introduction is that Tolentino s analysis isn t inclined to prescription but she shoehorns a sort of unnecessary what is to be done thing at the end The whole thing is about sitting with the feeling of what is to be done when nothing seems to be appropriate, but we get a to be sure at the end that kind of undermines it I had nothing to say to this because I had missed this entirely, making me think that I ve missed plenty I will have to re read soon Most of the essays, especially when they explored feminism, made me feel like I have so much to learn The essay on religion and drugs was the most relatable piece of writing I ve encountered in a while Tolentino is often very funny throughout the essays, making it that much enjoyable to read flag 3 likesLike see review Aug 19, 2019 Eve Dangerfield rated it really liked it I ve been a huge fan of Jia Tolentino s writing for ages and really enjoyed this It was thoughtful and funny and interesting as hell, not one part of it felt flat Also, I could listen to women talk about why they don t want to plan a wedding into infinity, so I particularly enjoyed that chapter That and the one about Sweetgreen and Body Barre That was also so brilliant I m really happy Trick Mirror exists and I had the pleasure of reading it flag 3 likesLike see review Aug 17, 2019 Camryn rated it really liked it This was really interesting I didn t find it relatable, but I connected to a lot of it, and also thought, okay valid, at other things In some of the essays about women, I feel like her critiques and analysis was based on white women and how they act, which was a fine choice I just remember reading those and thinking, okay, the black feminist circles I hang out would not do this or accept this But yeah I think the best essays are in the front flag 3 likesLike see review Aug 17, 2019 Valerie Brett rated it it was amazing Shelves essays 4.5 stars She s fucking awesome in the literal sense of the word I ve always been a huge fan I want to hand this book to all my best friends because I feel like it s so smart but also so relatable Minus half a star for the many quotes from explanations of other books that IMO weren t necessary because either 1 ppl already read them know what she was referencing, or 2 ppl won t have read them so the explanations won t really be meaningful flag 3 likesLike see review Aug 14, 2019 Josie rated it it was amazing yeah so Jia Tolentino s got a journalist s curiosity attention to hard facts w a fiction writer s eye for detail scene and i m not sure how this sort of talent is fair in any way what i do know is this book will probably reach people who don t usually read books b c of its readability, relatability, and honesty thank u jia for not intellectualizing issues that feel so personal and dear to us all flag 3 likesLike see review Aug 13, 2019 Cindy Ma rated it it was amazing On point articulation of what s happening in our cultural consciousness Fav essays I in Internet, I Thee Dread, Ecstasy flag 3 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    1. Jia Tolentino

      Jia Tolentino

    350 thoughts on “Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion”


    1. Lucid and enlightening, the essays of Jia Tolentino s debut collection Trick Mirror Reflections on Self Delusion consider what it means for Millennial women to navigate a culture of spectacle, scam, and oppression In sharp prose across nine essays Tolentino takes on everything from the troubling rise of athleisure to America s obsession with reality television, difficult women, and weddings sketching brilliant fragments of cultural history for the digital age, the author demystifies perpl [...]


    2. Recently my rad friend B and I got into it about Roxanne Gay s Bad Feminist, which I loudly do not like B argued that it was wrong of me to judge it so harshly because I was not taking into account the deep biases I bring to my own reading I remain unrepentant because those essays are extremely bad, but I do acknowledge that I am only a combination of my life s influences I grew up solidly middle class, I am a cis het woman and a Jew of European heritage, I went to a good liberal a [...]


    3. I don t know if I m going to have the time to write about this in the depth I would like, so I will just say that I finished Trick Mirror feeling I d probably read any article Jia Tolentino writes about any topic, and I d definitely read her memoirs The personal stories woven through these essays bring the book to vibrant life The autobiographical essays tend to be the strongest, particularly Reality TV Me , in which Tolentino revisits her experience of competing on a TV show at the age of 16 I [...]


    4. It took me a while to get used to Jia Tolentino s style of writing the essays jump around a bit at times and get a little stream of consciousness y but there are some real gems in this collection For me she s at her best when talking about social media, gender, women and media, but I found something to admire or enjoy in almost all of the essays in this personal collection Thank you Netgalley and 4th Estate for the advance copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest review.


    5. I really loved this I ve been reading Jia Tolentino s stuff ever since she started at Jezebel we re roughly the same age and she got assigned stuff I was guaranteed to click on, so I ve read a fair amount Some of her NYer pieces were even better, after she was freed from needing to write in Internet witty speak all the time and could show other tricks and styles she had up her sleeve And I d say those two voices and experiences are about equally on display here, to mostly utterly fantastic e I r [...]


    6. RTC An essay collection that s Fresh, Brilliant, Cerebrally Stimulating and Boundary Expanding for this Gen X male, to be sure The New Yorker has to be proud to have Jia Tolento as its millennial cultural critic For the first time since I do not recall when, I am fired up about spending a few hours of my weekend revisiting several favorite parts of a book and writing a 5 star review.I am grateful to Random House and NetGalley for an ARC.


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