Type of Document Thesis Author Cohen, Andrew Philip URN etd-04052004-165903 Title Books Are Pretty Degree Master of Arts Department English, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Robert Olen Butler Committee Chair Elizabeth Stuckey-French Committee Member John Fenstermaker Committee Member Keywords
- Eat to Win
Date of Defense 2004-04-05 Availability unrestricted AbstractI was working as a bookstore manager in Tucson, Arizona in 1993. It was there I first noticed the habits of bookstore patrons. Most enjoyed browsing the shelves, and they did this by choosing a book, tracing their fingers across the cover, and thumbing through pages stopping only at pictures. Very few “customers” read. Now, 2004, as a patron myself, I continue to notice these habits. Cover designs are more elaborate, more colorful, and bookstores—now combined with coffee shops—are more popular than a decade ago.
This collection of stories covers a broad range of human emotion, centering on the premise that although books might seem pretty the stories therein are not, for conflict is the impetus for fiction.
The interpersonal relationships studied by this thesis are varied. Leeward, The Cudgels, and Stepping Up examine familial dynamics, with the latter two concentrating on overbearing and absentee parenting, respectively. The Line and Eat to Win concern sexual relationships and philosophies. Whereas Eat to Win examines the logic of the psychopath, Truly Yours follows the thought processes of the victim. Eat to Win also scrutinizes unsavory business ethics, but this second non-pretty aspect is not enough to give the story credit for most distressing within the collection. This position is held for the last story, Leeward, which, in keeping within the theme of irony, is the most optimistic as well. At the end of this story there is hope for the protagonist.
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