Our list of annoying literary trends that need to be put to rest (e.g., titling every other piece “What We Talk About When We Talk About [insert subject here]”) will henceforth include any trivial Internet roasting of Philip Roth.
“Roth got a devilish twinkle in his eye, ‘Would you like to taste one of my cherries?'” Periel Aschenbrand tells us in an excerpt from her book On My Knees that is posted at Salon right now. The piece, a short telling of how Aschenbrand met her mother’s favorite writer, is a real hit-grabber with the title, “I Should Have Slept With Philip Roth,” and recounts the time Philip Roth was flirtatious with Aschenbrand, and how that sent Aschenbrand into this whole internal debate about how she probably, well, you get it by the title.
These trivial accounts where authors with a book to sell (see: Julian Tepper‘s Paris Review Daily post on the time Roth told the young author to give up writing, which received an even more unnecessary response from Elizabeth Gilbert at Bookish) talk about the few minutes they spent creeping on a more accomplished writer — especially Philip Roth — have got to go. I’m not sure who might buy a book because the author wasted a few minutes bothering one of America’s most decorated writers, but it sure doesn’t convince me.