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Note to Self: A Novel

2.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  234 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
A witty, keenly observant look at our Internet-obsessed culture

Anna Krestler is adrift. The Internet has draped itself, kudzu-like, over her brain, which makes it even more difficult to confront the question of what to do when she is dismissed from her job as a cubicle serf at a midtown law firm. Despite the exhortations of Leslie, her friend and volunteer life coach, Anna
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by Faber & Faber (first published January 1st 2013)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,389)
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The undiscussed surgeries lay like a weapon on the table before them. Her mother knew, despite the jabs about Anna's weight and the pointed comments about her unemployment, that as someone who wandered the plasticized wilderness somewhere between Joan Rivers and Michael Jackson, she should only go so far.

37-year-old Anna has just found herself out of a job. With a (much younger) roommate in a perpetual state of unpaid internship, Anna's world revolves arou
Oct 11, 2013 Di rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Uninteresting, unfunny, unreadable. If it gets better after p80 I'll never know. One star because Alina Simone convinced a publisher to reveal her efforts to the world. Awful book.
I won this book via goodreads giveaways. And it in no way changed my view on the story.
Just wow...and not a good one either. It was trying to hard to get this weird indie movie vibe of just strange.. and it was sorta pathetic on how hard it was to read. I dragged this book with me like a ball in chain. The main protagonist was dull, shes 37 years old hates quite a lot of things has no idea what to do with her life and a is addict to the internet. Now I will admit I probably spend far to much ti
Dawn Watson
It's like she somehow crept in and read my procrastinating mind. Loving it so far.
John E. Branch Jr.
Apr 09, 2013 John E. Branch Jr. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kate Pastorek, Alex Polkinghorn
We’ve been examining the lives of our young adults at least since Gertrude Stein’s “lost generation” pronouncement nearly 100 years ago. In a new novel, Alina Simone has taken a look at a particular 30-something who, while she’s not meant to stand for an entire generation, is rather lost.

Anna Krestler is 37, and much is unsettled about her life. She hasn’t finished paying for graduate school (in Slavic studies), which she didn’t complete anyway, and she was overeducated for a job at a Midtown Ma
Aug 12, 2013 Gerrybergstein rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific read.

There are lots of books right now about young creatives in Brooklyn. This one is a real winner. Although the plot line meanders, the ending packs a nightmarish sucker punch- cruel, surprising and convincing The main thing, though, is the pungent observations about ambition, sexuality, and power among desperate 30ish “interestings”. I know this sounds just like “Girls” and countless other works in the genre, but Simone is adds a level of really poignant Chekovian humanism that enri
Sep 08, 2013 Katie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I won a copy of Note to Self from the Goodreads Giveaway. From the description, this showed promise of being humorous, something akin to, say, Let's Pretend This Never Happened. But once you begin reading, you quickly realize Note to Self is very, very different and more uncomfortable than funny. The protagonist, Anna, is a 37 year old woman who has just lost her job and seems to have absolutely no direction in life. The one thing she does have is an unhealthy relationship with the Internet. I g ...more
Full Stop

Review by Rebecca Caine

A quick look at today’s movies, TV shows, and books reveals that there’s a market for stories about the misadventures of young, unemployed Brooklynites struggling to find their place in the world. These kids pick up the kinds of odd jobs with touches of glamour that you can only find in New York City; they go to themed parties on roof decks; they have uncomfortable sex with questionable people. Alina Simone’s Note to Self, at first g
May 24, 2014 Leigh rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, 2014
There's something that's both alarmingly and comfortingly familiar about this book. It's good to know I'm not the only one who can see the weird idiocy we live in these days, but by the same token I want so badly to believe in it, to not be jaded, to be one of those happily drunk permanent interns, those postmodern media performance artists.

I'm not quite at Anna's stage in life, but I'm past Brie's, and I see some of myself in both of them, somehow, which I think is a hallmark of strong charact
Aug 11, 2013 Jessica marked it as quickly-abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
What's that old saying, "If you don't have anything nice to say, better say nothing at all."

I'm not going to say anything here, except that the tone of this book just did not work for me.
Amanda Laughtland
Apr 12, 2015 Amanda Laughtland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this and found myself laughing out loud at times when the author really hit the nail on the head in terms of her observations of pop culture and internet obsession. This is one of those books where it's almost painful to read because you want to reach into the book and help the main character somehow. Really this is a pretty astute critique of modern-day fame. My favorite line came at the end when a supporting character pointed out that offline, nobody cares what's going on on the intern ...more
Aug 07, 2013 Mirkat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
[I won a free ARC copy of this book in a Goodreads "First Reads" Giveaway.]

Anna Krestler is 37 years old and unemployed. Being unemployed is bad enough, but being unemployed in the New York metro (Williamsburg, Brooklyn) area presents extra challenges. It doesn't help matters that her roommate, Brie, works multiple unpaid internships that are supposed to position her for much-coveted paid positions. This isn't the life Anna thought she'd have when she was in the Slavic studies PhD program at Col
Jan 20, 2014 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Note to Self is a book about the times in which we are living, the time of the Internet: hyper-stimulated, self-obsessed, voyeuristic, and incredibly isolated.

Even though Anna is older than I am, I still way over identified with her feelings of purposelessness. Her anxieties about the future echoed mine so closely I had to wonder if Simone read my diary. I was so caught up in Anna’s struggle to figure her shit out, to find herself, that I was just as blindsided as she by the novel’s climactic sc
Jul 24, 2013 Tanya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

The plot gave me the impression that it was trying to emulate the hard-to-follow plots of classic indie films--weird narratives, funky colors, odd settings. A few too many trying-too-hard similes too: "...and curacao, glowing behind the bar like the Manhattan skyline rendered in liquor." "...growing up in suburban Connecticut where the streets all circled one other like bored house pets..." "...their conversations only skimmed the surface of things, like the animated ball bouncing over the lyric
Feb 07, 2014 Ian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sort of The Unbearable Lightness of Being meets The Devil Wears Prada, by way of McSweeney's Internet Tendency. Or something. It's definitely got some chick-lit (girl in the big city wrestles with love and employment issues), but it's also a William Gibson-esque exploration of a niche subculture, and it's shot through with random stream-of-consciousness flights of fancy. Just like the Internet, you get the feeling it has a lot to say, but when you're done you're not quite sure what exactly it wa ...more
Aug 05, 2013 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
I saw this book reviewed and it sounded like something I could really get on board with. Peppered with pop cultural references and an internet addicted 30 something female protagonist who gets involved in the world of indie film. What could go wrong?

Turns out, quite a lot. I think Aline Simone really hates hipsters, and beyond that she hates fake artists more. That's not a problem, I think we all do, but this book is so rife with cynicism that at times it almost hurts to read it.

Simone is a goo
Dec 09, 2013 Marie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Alina Simone comes with some fantastic and sharp comments about the internet and postmodern society in general - and that's the only good things about the novel. But even though many says it is "witty" and even "hilarious", I didn't find it even remotely funny. It wasn't just that I read it for a school project - I didn't even crack a smile while reading it. Maybe it's because my native language isn't english, maybe it isn't. But it isn't just the lack of humor. It's the nonexistent process the ...more
Jun 19, 2014 Drew rated it it was ok
It gets bumped up from the dregs of a 1 for the power of the film at the end and for the way it does make you reconsider pieces of the story that has come before - but so much of this story inspires a reader to say little more than "who cares?" It's entertaining to be flailing through life in your twenties - it's pathetic to do so in your thirties, in the way that Anna does here. Put another way, her age seems arbitrary in a way that it simply cannot be. If she was 27, maybe this would all make ...more
Feb 27, 2014 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book took me a while to get into. The protagonist has a pretty miserable existence. Once I got into it, though, I found it laugh out loud funny and unpredictable. More enjoyable than expected!
Jul 25, 2014 Amy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book last year in a Goodreads first reads giveaway. It is rare for me to give up on a book, but that's exactly what I did with this after about 40 dreadful pages. I tried giving it another chance this year, only to give up on it a second time. I'm sorry,'s nothing personal.
Ms. Simone really delivers the funny with this novel. Being 30-something and adrift is nothing new, but the main character is so very open and honest you can't help but become emotionally invested in her future. The story is told by the main character (Anna) in a stream of consciousness style, which works well with the characters witty and sharp observations. The pacing is good, the dialogue crisp and funny, the use of Craigslist and Independent films are topical and relevant, and the story of h ...more
Barbara Melosh
Lacerating satire that often rings true, and some very funny scenes as she skewers soul-sucking narcissism of adrift wannabes. But in the end her scorched-earth critique becomes disturbing and depressing, even nihilistic; there's no bottom and no way up tom the distortions and inauthenticity of life deformed by social media.
Kimberly Erskine
Nov 09, 2015 Kimberly Erskine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't make it past chapter 3. Life is too short to read terrible books. The writing was atrocious.
Jul 23, 2014 Lori rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
definitely not a pleasant a bad houseguest, it seems to overstay its welcome!
Mar 22, 2014 Sylvene rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was equal parts witty, weird, boring, and depressing.
Nov 10, 2014 Isabel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Didn`t get the meaning of the book. Kept reading to see if it was going to get better, but no luck ...more
Nicole Chavez
Feb 22, 2016 Nicole Chavez rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't even finish it. Can someone tell me how to unread this book? Painful to read.
Sorrell Kerrison
loosely threaded together with the idea for 'Internet addiction', this novel seems to think that it has a big plot twist, in reality the blurb ruins it from the start. Even though the story line is obvious and trails along, Anna is an interesting character. Yet this feels so much like a second draft. With some good pieces yet so obviously heading in one direction, it could have done with a really good editor. A shame as it seemingly had so much potential of being more than the average chick lit ...more
I tried, but just couldn't dredge up any sympathy for the main character. There was so little momentum in this book that I grew bored with it.
I generally had no interest in this book, but I did want to know how this cluster-f finished. It was depressing, but at times so depressing that it was funny - in a pathetic sort of way. I don't usually read about cinema/art so it was an insight into that messed up indie, hipster world, but I could have done without it. Luckily it only took me a day and a half to read.

* Note to Self: I need to pay better attention to the reviews I read when deciding what choose next.
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Alina Simone is a critically acclaimed singer who was born in Kharkov, Ukraine, and now lives in Brooklyn. Her music has been covered by a wide range of media, including BBC’s The World, NPR, Spin, Billboard, The New Yorker, and The Wall Street Journal. She is the author of the book You Must Go and Win. Note to Self is her debut novel.
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