Rambling about books

Book review: Modern Romance, by Azis Ansari & Eric Klinenberg

Do you know why I like Azis Ansari? Go and watch his stand-up shows, and/or watch the pilot episode for Master of None. I don’t think I need to elaborate on how interesting it is to listen to Azis Ansari. Having said that, I am beyond excited when I saw this book whilst I was browsing a bookstore last year. The theme of the topic reminds me of an episode where Azis was a guest on The Conan Show and he was talking about online dating and how he’s not into that. It was funny, and imagine having to read a whole entire book on his thoughts about romance; modern romance to be precise. Will Azis be as funny as he was in The Conan Show, as sarcastic as during his stand-up shows, as witty as his character in Master of None?

A hilarious, thoughtful, and in-depth exploration of the pleasures and perils of modern romance from one of this generation’s most popular and sharpest comedic voices.

For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before.

In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world. Goodreads.

Book cover from Goodreads

Live your life like a decent person. Go to grocery store, buy your own food, take care of yourself. If you live a responsible life, you’ll run into responsible people.

No offense to Azis Ansari but comparing several of the covers of this book, I preferred this one. It seems very science-like but the playful pinkish colour gave a more laid back feeling, whilst having a book cover with Azis Ansari on the cover (not to mention, Azis Ansary with pinkish heart-eyes) would made me like a complete love fool. Not that being a love fool is anything bad, but let’s just say I have a  reputation to uphold to, and my brand is not the love fool kind. Lol. That being said, I’m glad the bookstore has this copy rather than the other one. Not only it made me look cool reading this book in public, but I also very much enjoy the simple design and colouring of the cover.

If one were to expect to read a book by a comedian, in this case Azis’ book, it would be funny through and through, right? What with stories from when they were children and whatnots. But, nope, not this book. This book is true to its title and its prologue chapter; this book was Azis and Eric’s quest to understand the upheaval of a modern romance, with its wide range of choices and technological advancement, how it differs from past romance from our parents’ bygone era, and how it is affecting romance for current and future generations. Does this interest you? Well, personally speaking, you should be interested. Whilst the topic on Tinder and how technological advancement had, in a way, tweaked the way current generation are doing their romance, will not surprise us anymore (seeing that we are part of the current generation that are widely affected by the so-called technological advancement), it is still interesting to see how far the effects were compared to our parents’ generation.

To be completely honest, at some point I did grew quite bored; as I’ve said before, much of the topic shouldn’t come as anything new to the current generation, but I am glad I stick it through because comes the last chapter, I feel some sort of refreshing feeling. I think, at the end of the day, it depends on where you are in your romance stage that you can found your interest inside the book. If you’re still on the hooking up stage, then you’d probably be interested on the first few chapters. And much like a relationship blossoming, the chapters also progress much like it, all the way from meeting up, hooking up, possible dating, and close it off with the settling down.

I feel like it’s an interesting matter to see an actual proper research and finding about love, I mean how you even quantify something that doesn’t even have a clear cut definition in the first place? I love the way the book talks about the progress of relationship from Passionate Love and evolves into Companionate Love. I used to think those couples who made it for years with their partner solely because they merely had come to acceptance with the partner of their choosing, but maybe their love indeed has evolve into companionate love, that love for them is not always about shagging in every corner just because the opportunity calls for it, but just by being each other and feeling that sense of support from your partner is still as earth-shattering as the sex (okay, probably not, but when you’re 60, surely earth-shattering sex is not something you would be looking for, would you? I don’t know, I’m still 29).

All in all, if you are expecting to read this book and laugh with all the funny stories that Azis Ansari kept for you, you might be setting yourself up for a disappointment. Whilst this book is definitely funny (and I mean, Azis funny, you really can’t miss his funny side in this book despite the sometime serious tone of the topic. But, if ever you have an interest topics such as these, or anything that involves a social experiment and focus group discussion on emerging social phenomena but does not want to waste your time drowning in endless amount of research finding, then why not give this book a try? It’s refreshing, fun, entertaining and to some extent informative. I think, in a way, it’ll put your life into perspective (romance-wise, I mean) as you read into the ins and out of Azis’ own love life.

As I’ve mentioned above, I will only recommend it to people who actually have an interest on the topic at hands, because if you’re seriously looking for tear-filled laughter such as when you’re watching anything with Azis Ansari in it, I have to say you won’t find it here, but you’ll still laugh and be entertained anyway.

Title: Modern Romance

Author (s): Azis Ansari & Eric Klinenberg

Genre: Non fiction, Humour


Goodreads link

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