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Hooking Up

3.27 of 5 stars 3.27  ·  rating details  ·  1,392 ratings  ·  119 reviews
In Hooking Up, Tom Wolfe ranges from coast to coast observing 'the lurid carnival actually taking place in the mightiest country on earth in the year 2000.' From teenage sexual manners and mores to fundamental changes in the way human beings now regard themselves thanks to the hot new fields of genetics and neuroscience; from his legendary profile of William Shawn, editor ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 12th 2001 by Picador (first published 1989)
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W.B.
May 16, 2008 W.B. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Technophiles, anybody really
Recommended to W.B. by: the dollar store
This is cobbled together creation, rather a literary Frankenstein's monster, a pastiche of various essays with some fiction thrown in, but it's actually a very rewarding read. You don't have to like the man or share his values to appreciate his ability to understand history's machinations, to trace trends and cultural tendencies with a rarely rivaled acumen. I don't share many of his values, and do find him to be an unremittent elitist (which is always an embarrassment for readers) but I still f ...more
Ani
Aug 01, 2007 Ani rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people interested in entrepreneurship and the origins of the technology industry in the US
I think the best piece in this book is the first one, a fascinating story detailing the impact of Congregationalism and the state of Iowa on the birth of Silicon Valley and really, modern corporate culture in the US. You can see the seeds of the atrociously long and out-of-touch novel I Am Charlotte Simmons in the piece called "Hooking Up," which is much better than the novel that it generated.
Tim
I never realized how patriotic Wolfe is. His essay about the end of century fizzle is fantastic. Why didn't Americans celebrate the American century... Also enjoyed the novella about Fort Bragg, but the gem in the book is the long investigative/historical essay about Bob Noyce and the rise of Silicon Valley.

This is a great sampler to cut your teeth on a great American writer. I also enjoyed his Opus Novel, A Man in Full.,
David
Tom Wolfe's Hooking Up is a collection of essays on a variety of themes which he explores more fully in I am Charlotte Simmons: American Exceptionalism vs. colonial apologetics; the morphing of the date into the "hook-up" and other interesting modifications in American sexual mores; and most entertainingly his response to being called "not real literature" by Updike, Mailer, and Irving.

In addition, he includes a novella, Ambush at Fort Bragg about a group of journalists involved in a "gotcha" TV
...more
Matthew Chisholm
his was my first Wolfe anything. I had seen several of his works lying around collecting dust on friends bookshelves, and had often wondered,"Who is this man with the ostentatious covers and 90s charisma?" Turns out he is somewhat of a relic and somewhat of a genius. Like most carnal 20-somethings, I picked this one up because I was engaged by the prospect of an explanation of the process of temporary sexual desire. Instead, I got a narrative that weaved in and out of the cybertropolis of Y2K le ...more
Dave
If you like Tom Wolfe like Tom Wolfe likes Tom Wolfe, you will like "Hooking Up." If you think Tom Wolfe is ok, like I think Tom Wolfe is ok, you will probably think this book is ok.

My biggest complaint is that "Hooking Up" only appears in the first essay(?) and only there in a convoluted, confusing, dissatisfying way. The book improves after that providing some interesting biographies of people that I'd never heard about before, such as William Shawn, editor of The New Yorker and Bob Noyce, a
...more
Maggie
i have so far read electric koolaid acid test as well as bonfire of the vanities by tom wolfe. after reading up to the novella about fort bragg i felt seriously let down by an author i previously considered one of my favorites. it seems he has abondoned his more objective (obviously not totally objective) journalistic style and decided to hop up onto his soapbox for a while. i found his essays in this collection opinionated and a little too patriotic for me. i did semi-enjoy the novella near the ...more
Russell Bittner
Tom Wolfe may dress up like Mark Twain, but Tom Wolfe’s a sheep in Twain’s clothing.

That said, Tom Wolfe — in Hooking Up — gives a riotous performance. From Silicon Valley to the halls of the hallowed “New Yorker” Magazine, Wolfe sheds light: much-needed and much-appreciated light. There are gems in this book, but you’ve got to know how to spot them.

Wolfe’s prose is edgy, amusing, straightforward — and a joy to read. He just ain’t Twain, Huck. (But then, nobody is except Samuel Clemens himself
...more
Julie
Oh my gooooooddd this book was boring. Please be forewarned - this book has nothing to do with delving further into societal rituals, like dating in the 2000s, as the title "Hooking Up" might imply. This book is a mishmash of dry essays on the evolution of technology, a silly short story (there was a reason it was cut out of A Man in Full, like how deleted scene extras on a DVD always kinda suck), and then a section on his literary wars with famous authors and The New Yorker. I remember liking h ...more
Ed
4.5 stars
Apart from everything else, it's always great fun to read a Tom Wolfe book - to metaphorically get into his jazzy white sports car and zoom off to whichever neighborhood he is careering around. In this book from 2000 those neighborhoods are eclectic: they comprise a look at sexual mores in millennial America; a history of Silicon Valley; a discussion of the ascendency of neuroscience as a tool for explaining human behavior; modern art; a novella; a biting takedown of John Updike, John I
...more
Camille Mccarthy
I enjoy Tom Wolfe's essays very much, more than his fiction so far. He's very good at illustrating points and this book felt like a reality check for what's going on in America right now. I liked his insights on novel-writing in America, as I feel he is spot-on with regards to writers not being as in touch with the world around them as people such as Steinbeck, which really detracts from their ability to connect with the reader through their works. However Henry James is still among my favorite ...more
Σουρτούκω
Το Hooking Up αν και θεωρείται χρονογράφημα, περιλαμβάνει κείμενα διαφορετικών προελεύσεων μεταξύ των οποίων ένα short story και κάποια άρθρα του Tom Wolfe.

Η θεματολογία του είναι χαοτική, κινείται από την ιστορία του Robert Noyce, του ιδρυτή της Intel και "Δήμαρχο του Sillicon Valley" μέχρι το βαρετό ύφος του New Yorker την επί William Shawn εποχή. Επί παντός επί στητού σα να λέμε και δεν αφήνει τίποτα να πέσει κάτω.

Το πρώτο μέρος του, για το Sillicon Valley, μέχρι και το "Ambush at Fort Bragg"
...more
Barbara Ray
I'm still thinking about "Two Young Men Who Went West." It has all the elements of well-done new journalism-- getting inside the heads of people, and turning what, in lesser hands, could be a very dull tale into something good. While I don't necessarily align with Wolfe's politics, and some of the essays are self-congratulatory, when he's good, he's very good.
David Koblos
I read this book right after finishing "The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby" and the transition was smooth and seamless, despite the thirty some years between them. In both cases Wolfe does what he's best at: looking at various aspects of this great American experience, and writing about it in a way that you simply can't ignore. Hooking up is in fact not so much about where the sexual revolution has ended up at the time of the turn of the millennium, though he goes into some detail ...more
David
I usually say I prefer Wolfe's nonfiction to his fiction (though I tend to rate his fiction higher due to it's impressive complexity), but I might have to make an exception here (this being nonfiction other than the novella). I just didn't care for this as much as "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,""The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby," or " From Bauhaus to Our House." Nothing was bad, but I didn't care much for most. There was a lot where Wolfe sounded like a cranky old man, and he ...more
Greg
The birth of Silicon Valley is particularly entertaining.
Procyon Lotor
Giornalismo di classe... ...e figliodibuonadonna d'alta classifica. Questo gentiluomo del sud, (il Sud di via col vento) che pochissime volte s' fatto trascinare dalle mode pi virulente, si permette di usare i clich pi vieti ma anche resistenti dela cultura e societ americana contemporanea come suo puntaspilli personale. Come spilli usa delle alabarde per. Eccellente libro per conoscere gli USA anche se presume una certa conoscenza iniziatica. Diciamo buono per "USA corso avanzato". Un opinione ...more
Evan
I always enjoy Tom Wolfe. He's a fun person to disagree with. His profiles on scientists and The New Yorker are really well executed and trenchant, but the titular essay in this book is total balderdash --it is a prurient, salacious, haphazard, cobbled-together compendium of rumors about the sexy sex that kids are supposedly having now, as if they weren't doing such things since Adam discovered his own boy-parts. It's rare to get an essay with that degree of "you kids get off my lawn (and stop t ...more
David Ward
Hooking Up by Tom Wolfe (Farrar Strauss and Giroux 2000)(818) is a collection of recent nonfiction works by the eminent author. The title work begins with the author's update on the struggle between the sexes. The book jacket sums it up best: "Only yesterday boys and girls spoke of embracing and kissing (necking) as getting to first base. Second base was deep kissing, plus groping and fondling this and that. Third base was oral sex. Home plate was going all the way. That was yesterday. Here in t ...more
Crystal
Had to be honest and say "I didn't like it." That should in no way detract from the mastery of Tom Wolfe's writing, and if you like him and you want to know a lot about stuff that happened way back (like everything you never wanted to know about The New Yorker in the '60s), by all means take a gander. There was a lengthy essay about the germination of Silicon Valley, but I found inaccuracies in the depiction. My favorite part of the book was his novella, "Ambush at Fort Bragg," about "ambush" jo ...more
Mikey B.
A turn of the millennium book by Mr. Wolfe, in which he overstates that the U.S. is the center of the world (as Britain was 100 years ago). One also ponders how much Mr. Wolfe would have changed his outlook after Sept. 11/2001. To some extent there is a bit of prudery and anti-liberalism in this book – or perhaps a lack of tolerance in his tone.

There seems to be an underlying glorification of Middle America – and Middle American values (the work ethic, religion). But regardless, Mr. Wolfe is an
...more
Patrick
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrew
Apr 24, 2012 Andrew added it
Shelves: favorites
great collection. the novella is so-so, but the essays are generally fantastic (not to mention thoroughly researched and delightfully reported, as wolfe's work so often is), covering a range of intermingling topics, including science and technology, art and literature, and the trend of late-century american thinking toward the absurdly refined. this last point crops up again and again and comes to fruition in "rococo marxists" and "my three stooges," where wolfe dismantles the tired dogma of pos ...more
John
I recently found this book in my stacks and checked the reviews on Amazon to see if I should invest the time in reading it. The reviews were all over the place... some loved it, a lot hated it, many gave it mediocre marks. After reading it I see why - there's something somewhere in "Hooking Up" to piss off everyone. I enjoyed most of the book immensely.

My infuriating moment came near the end of the 3rd section as Wolf describes the hyper-reaction to E. O. Wilson's groundbreaking work in the fiel
...more
Lars Guthrie
I'm probably only going less than all the way because Wolfe so joyfully savages many of my beliefs and predispositions. That makes me resent that he is so damned fun to read. After reading a story in the SF Chronicle about his upcoming book on neuroscience and language (and I'm interested in that for lots of reasons--right now I'm reading Stuart Shanker and Stanley Greenspan's "The First Idea"), which referred to Wolfe's "Sorry, But Your Soul Just Died," I got this book just to read that essay, ...more
Jessica Blevins
A collection of essays and one novella by Tom Wolfe, covering a wide range of topics, from art history to neurotechnology to literature. It was ok, but not great. My favorite essays were "Sorry, But Your Soul Just Died" (about philosophy, religion and neurotechnology...interesting bits on Nietzche's predictions for the future after the "intellectual elite" agreed that religion was no longer a viable belief) and "In the Land of the Rococo Marxists" (interesting downloading of social structures th ...more
mark
I enjoyed this collection of essays and one short story, but it is not Wolfe at his finest. I noticed more than I had with his earlier works just how US-centric his viewpoints are and how little he criticizes the country, specifically in its foreign policies. I'm thinking of the pieces "Hooking Up" and "In The Land of The Rococo Marxists," both of which are very entertaining and make some excellent observations, but in which he overstates his case. Of course, that is Wolfe's style. "Sorry But Yo ...more
Kelly
Oct 27, 2011 Kelly added it
Anyone with a child in school knows the signs all too well. I am intrigued by the parents now invest--the craze began about 1990- in psychologists who diagnose their children as suffering from a defect known as attention deficit disorder, or ADD. Of course, I have no way of knowing whether this "disorder" is an actual, physical, neurological condition or not, but neither does anybody else in this early stage of neuroscience. The symptoms of this supposed malady are always the same. The child, or ...more
Dina
Hooking Up by Tom Wolfe is a collection of essays, which I found to be an enjoyable, read. While I loved his books “Bonfire of the Vanities” and “The Right Stuff” I struggled with “Man in Full.

In Hooking Up he demonstrates his understanding of history and traces recent trends and cultural tendencies. I was enlightened about the genesis of the Internet, the “sexual revolution”, the millennials and ‘My Three Stooges’; Wolfe’s attack on Norman Mailer, John Updike and John Irving, particularly mesm
...more
David Nichols
This anthology contains several noteworthy or entertaining pieces: a short story, "Ambush at Fort Bragg," that didn't make it into Wolfe's 1998 novel A MAN IN FULL; an essay on Teilhard de Chardin, Marshall McLuhan, and the Internet; another piece on the founding of Intel; Wolfe's turn-of-the-century review of Frederick Hart, the sculptor who created the servicemen's statue at the Vietnam Memorial; and two dated but amusing critiques of the NEW YORKER from 1965. Unfortunately, it also contains g ...more
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Wolfe was educated at Washington and Lee Universities and also at Yale, where he received a PhD in American studies.

Tom Wolfe spent his early days as a Washington Post beat reporter, where his free-association, onomatopoetic style would later become the trademark of New Journalism. In books such as The Electric Koolaid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, and The Bonfire of the Vanities, Wolfe delves into
...more
More about Tom Wolfe...
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test The Bonfire of the Vanities The Right Stuff I am Charlotte Simmons A Man in Full

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“You can be denounced from the heavens, and it only makes people interested.” 13 likes
“In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, old people in America had prayed, "Please God, don't let me look poor." In the year 2000, they prayed, "Please God, don't let me look old." Sexiness was equated with youth, and youth ruled. The most widespread age-related disease was not senility but juvenility.
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