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Terrible works are a staple of literature. But it’s a somewhat loaded term inviting images of rubbing toilets, cleaning up vomit, etc., when, really, all the work is awful, otherwise they wouldn’t have to pay us to do them.

I knew I wanted to write a novel about modern work cultures. We work longer hours than ever before and the gigantic workforce has almost tripled in the last five years. The Odyssey is set on a giant cruise ship and explores this central contradiction: a demand for devotion to your task that is then not reciprocated with basic security.

The employees on the ship work punishing short-term “rotations,” moving around different jobs (you may be a croupier for a while, then a photographer, then a customer service assistant, then a manicurist). Ingrid, the heroine, is working in one of the many gift shops when she is accepted into a mysterious employee mentoring scheme, “the program”, run by the ship’s captain, Keith. Keith is a generous if misinformed member of wabi-sabi – a Japanese aesthetic tradition that celebrates transience and decay. Ingrid has to prove her devotion to her job and to Keith when she engages in a series of cult-like tests. However, Ingrid doesn’t think her work is terrible – she thinks it’s great! She seeks total removal of the self and she finds it.

A few years ago I met Grace Paley in an interview in which she stated that she can’t write character until she knows who their family is and where they get their money from: writing practice I fully support. And so all fictional characters generally need a terrible job. Here are my top 10 …

1. Microserfs by Douglas Coupland Framed on the Microsoft campus in Washington State, Microserfs explores the firm’s feud-like work culture: the employees the novel follows are the serfs chaired by Bill Gates. It was one of the first novels to predict a dystopian culture in the tech industry that would soon become the norm, and one special scene in which an employee slips “flat foods” (such as slices of pre-cheese) under another’s office door. an employee, to make sure they actually eat while working, has been harassing me for 20 years.

2. The Blindfold by Siri HustvedtIris Vegan is a graduate student who works as a research assistant for an older, lonely man named Mr Morning. She is tasked with cataloging a series of objects “belonging to a girl who died three years ago” (and, it turns out, was murdered). The task of Iris is to reveal every object (white glove, hand mirror), study it, smell it, try to understand it, then record yourself by describing and responding to the object with a neutral whisper. Hustvedt captures the stifling worldliness of repeating a task over and over again under perplexed, silly limits.

3. Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West In New York City during the Great Depression, an unnamed male narrator responds to letters for his advice column, which he writes under the pen name “Miss Lonelyhearts,” in perhaps the ultimate book on terrible work. Growing increasingly discouraged and burdened by the miserable New Yorkers seeking his advice, Miss Lonelyhearts seeks ways to escape – through alcohol and religion to name a couple – as he struggles to a full existential crisis. Beautifully written and pleasantly short and sharp satire.

4. Something Happened by Joseph HellerThe madly named Bob Slocum prepares for promotion, longs for divorce and navigates his fear of closed doors in what Kurt Vonnegut described as “one of the most unfortunate books ever written”. Sometimes criticized for being too long and serpentine, which it probably is, it still has so many moments of crude nonsense, full-blown humor and psychic disengagement, it’s hard not to find it anything other than vigorously masochistic joy.

5. Pastoral by George Saunders Specifically the titular first story in the collection, about the employees of an outdoor amusement park who play the cavemen in a diorama. They communicate with the administration by fax. The unnamed narrator tells us praise for showing extreme commitment to their performances (eating raw meat, taking care of co-workers ’insects), and being punished for any concessions to de facto humanity (speaking in a fully developed language). He finally stops getting paid in a story so suffocating (but funny!) You’ll want to step out for fresh air after you’ve read it.

6. Nobody’s Diary by George and Weedon Grossmith Written by two brothers, this 19th-century comic novel and classmate gives us the diary of George Pooter, a clumsy and generally easy-going clerk at a vaguely referenced bank or accounting firm. It narrates the daily afflictions and insignificant triumphs of its life and worldly work. A successful joke, a moderately interesting anecdote or a bit of gossip gives many a reason to not only get out of bed and into the office, but a reason to live, in this particularly uplifting novel.

7. Work Won’t Love You Back by Sarah Jaffe and Lost in Work by Amelia HorganTwo absolutely essential non-fiction books that question modern stories around a work. Having a range of case studies from all walks of life, Work Won’t Love You Back examines the myth that work should be done for love not money, and questions the lack of validity or compensation afforded particular types of work (domestic work, art). ). Lost in Work calls for a different work myth: that we all have access to flexible, exciting, and fast-paced employment, when what really happens is blurring the boundaries between work and pleasure (“leisure is treated as something we should benefit.; Every hobby possible ‘side concert’. ”).

8. BS JohnsonMalry’s Christie Malry’s Personal Double Entry is a self-described “simple man” who wants two things: sex, and understanding how money works. His job at the Bank of London gives him the opportunity to do accounting in which he learns double accounting (a two-way method in which each entry requires a corresponding opposite entry to a different account). Finally bored by the bank, he gives up, then has the idea to apply this method to his own life: for every personal misfortune (“four malformed chocolates”) he is “credited” for committing compensatory (and increasingly violent) misdeeds. against society.

9. There is no such thing as Kikuko Tsumura’s Easy Work. The unnamed narrator of Tsumuru’s unbridled novel enters an employment agency in search of a job that requires no reading, no writing, and minimal thinking. What she finds is a series of bizarre jobs that hover around the edges of actual work: writing a self-help copy for rice crackers; inexplicably checking a novelist suspected of possession of “contraband”. There is a hypnotic anxiety to this strange world of work, and a strange contentment when the narrator flippers from terrible work to terrible work.

10. All Quiet on the Orient Express by Magnus MillsAnother unnamed narrator finds himself at a Lake District campground before he plans to set off on a motorcycle to India. He agrees to paint a gate for the owner of the campsite: a seemingly fairly simple task, even if the payment for the task is vaguely missed. The painting of the gate leads to another task, then to another, and there is always a reason he cannot continue his travels, always something that keeps him at the campsite. As his work becomes more and more sinister and absurd, he becomes resigned to the despair of his situation – and we are resigned to never paint a gate.

What jobs are related to books and reading?

Here are 15 works that may be ideal for people who like to read: On the same subject : High-tech revolution.

  • Teacher.
  • Bookseller.
  • Copy editor.
  • Translator.
  • Paralegal.
  • Literary agent.
  • Editor.
  • Grant writer.

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Who is the richest author in the world?

Frequently Asked Questions About Richest Writers J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, is the richest writer in the world with a net worth of $ 1 billion.

Who is the best-selling author in the world? James Patterson is the world’s highest paid author by a wide margin, and the world’s best-selling author since 2001. On the same subject : The 10 longest running video game franchises, ranked. He has sold more than 350 million books worldwide, and is most famous for the crime series “Alex Cross”.

Who is the highest paid author?

Leading the ranking of the world’s highest-income authors in 2019 was J.K. Rowling, with a revenue of US $ 92 million. Rowling is best known for her “Harry Potter” series, but was attacked in May 2020 for comments on Twitter that users felt transphobic.

Who is the Number 1 author in the world?

The world’s highest paid authors 2019: J. This may interest you : Prime Video Schedule Additions: New TV and Movies Coming June 13-19.K. Rowling Back On With $ 92 Million.

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Is there a career in reading books?

Publishing Acquisition editor works for publishing houses and literary agencies, and typically spends his time reading manuscripts and connecting with authors to obtain titles for their companies. Another path you could take is a literary agent.

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Do authors go to college?

A college degree in English, journalism or communication is generally required for a paid position as a writer or author. Experience can be gained through internships, but any form of writing that enhances skill, such as blogging, is useful.

How long do authors go to college? For most professional writers, it takes 4-5 years of university. It often takes 3-5 years to write, edit, and publish a marketable book or movie.

What education do you need to become an author?

How to Become a Writer or Author. A college degree in English, communication or journalism is generally required for a full-time position as a writer or author. Experience gained through internships or any kind of writing that enhances skill, such as blogging, is useful.

What do authors do in college?

As a creative writer, you are likely to spend much of your college career immersed in activities such as reading, writing, and editing. You will have to read, interpret and analyze classical literature in addition to writing your own prose and poetry.

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