Sunny's bookshelf
Sunny's bookshelf photo by Judy Solomon

Online book reviews since 2011, the very best in reviewing – connecting good readers with equally good writers

Nein, A Manifesto

Home alone, reading Eric Jarosinski’s Nein. A Manifesto, and I’m laughing so hard that tears are running down my cheeks! I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve discovered anything this funny! Moreover, the humor is cumulative, so what was making me smile on the first few pages becomes ear-splitting by the middle of the book and is downright hilarious by the end. How can I possibly describe a book that, to be appreciated, really must be read first-hand? How might I condense, or expand, what Jarosinski does so well?

Eric Jarosinski is a blogger who pens aphoristic twitters and tweets, massaging the familiar format into cryptic and ironic assemblages of no more than 140 characters per page. He’s also a well-trained literary critic, a scholar of German literature and philosophy who knows exactly how to skewer the pretentious worlds of politics and deconstruction.  Reading Nein reminds me of sitting in a freshman philosophy class, smirking at the professorial hair-splitting, or suffering through a graduate seminar, listening to my peers try and out-articulate themselves.

Here’s how Jarosinski needles them all.  Each page of Nein contains a hashtag followed by terse lines of elaboration. The entries are grouped by categories.  For example, Chapter 7 is titled “Nein is not style.  Nein is not syntax.”  Among its listings are two of my favorites.


Parataxis: gin and tonic

Catachresis: gin and tunic

Catharsis: gin, no tonic

Paratactical cathartic catachresis: gin and gin. No tunic.



Italian: the language of romance

French: the language of love

German: the love of language

English: the love of English

The Glossary that concludes Nein is equally droll. There, Jarosinski defines modern terminology, satirizing his own literary and philosophical inclinations while parodying his education and the training of others like him.  Some of my favorites include:  “Close reading: The art of reading what has never been written in order to write a book that will never be read.”  Or, Joyce: “A stream of whiskey that has traded clarity for consciousness.”  Or, Metaphor: Just another word for just another word. (Simile: The metaphor’s, like, less articulate cousin.”  Or, Theory: A branch of philosophy and comparative literature devoted to disregarding both.”  I wish I had a copy of Nein on my desk when I was studying for comps and writing my dissertation, though the hashtags and the bird-like brevity would have been lost on me forty-plus years ago.  Nary a tweet in my grad school generation, but we would have loved the sarcastic humor and the sardonic take-downs of whatever we were being taught.

No, Nein isn’t for every reader, and Eric Jarosinski isn’t for every tweeter.  I can’t recommend this book to very many aficionados.  But for those of us who were altogether too well-schooled, Nein is simply uproarious.   – #PretentiousProf


Add your thoughts and comments...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share this Review

Related Reviews

Fox & I

Fox & I

Fox & I, An Uncommon Friendship – Catherine Raven’s strong narrative voice engages and educates readers in her moving nature-writing memoir. I have always been

Read More »
My Beloved World

My Beloved World

Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Supreme Court Justice, brings the breadth and depth of her lived experiences to her memoir, My Beloved World. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia

Read More »
Tracing Time

Tracing Time

Tracing Time, Childs brings the rock art of the Colorado Plateau Canyon country into a rich and moving focus. I have read most, if not

Read More »

About the Reviewer

Sign up for reviews by email

You’ll get email updates from Bookin’ with Sunny when we add a new review or blog post, and we never share your email with anyone else.

Shopping in-store is back!

Support your local community’s economic growth by shopping for books at your independent bookstore in person, online at their website, or by phone.