In The New York Times Book Review, James Wolcott reviews “Raising Trump,” by Ivana Trump, and “The Kardashians: An American Drama,” by Jerry Oppenheimer. Wolcott writes:
There are those who have fame thrust upon them, and those who thrust themselves upon fame like an invasion force. It is the latter troupe of shameless, relentless thrusters that occupies us here, the Trump and Kardashian clanships. Until fairly recently, family dynasties — whatever skeletons they may have had in their closets — thrived on a mantle of achievement handed down from generation to generation, whether we’re talking about the Adamses, Roosevelts, Rockefellers, Kennedys, Bushes or Flying Wallendas. Such a quaint ideal and needless effort this service obligation seems now, when exhibitionism in the pseudoraw is what gets rewarded, thanks in large measure to the phony theatrics of reality TV, which turned the social theorist Daniel Boorstin’s notion of a celebrity — someone famous for being famous — into a terrarium thronged with dance moms, mob wives and Honey Boo Boos.
Also on this week’s podcast, Tina Brown discusses “The Vanity Fair Diaries: 1983-1992”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Gregory Cowles, Jennifer Szalai and John Williams on what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
Here are the books mentioned in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:
“Sing, Unburied, Sing” by Jesmyn Ward
“Autumn” by Ali Smith
“Cold New World” by William Finnegan
“Devils in Daylight” by Junichiro Tanizaki
“The Idiot” by Elif Batuman
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