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Depth Takes a Holiday

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  226 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
An original and hilarious bestselling set of essays on the ups and downs of today's thirtysomethings
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 1st 1997 by Riverhead Trade (first published April 2nd 1996)
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(showing 1-30)
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Sep 03, 2009 J. rated it really liked it
Shelves: bio, memoir, la-la-land

The title says it all.
This could really only be about one thing, and it is.

Welcome to L.A.

Jul 30, 2007 Dolores rated it really liked it
I love the writing of Sandra Tsing Loh because she is incredibly witty and acerbic, and doesn't take herself or anything too seriously. And, she can write about the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles in language that makes it sound downright pleasant.
Loh is the Queen of the San Fernando Valley, once a farming community over the hill from Los Angeles, but now a burgeoning suburb. Los Angelenos consider the Valley a foreign country, and, truth be told, getting from Los Angeles to the Valley i
Aug 05, 2007 Melissa rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Fans of 'This American Life."
After hearing Loh reader her short story "Bad Sex with Bud Kemp" on NPR's This American Life, I ordered this book, eager to hear more of Loh's dry and witty observations on society and popular culture. Although the content and style of this book is consistent with what I heard on NPR, this book failed to meet my expectations.

Focusing on her experiences as an overeducated, underpaid, writer/artist living in Los Angeles, Loh does an excellent job of capturing a specific time and place -- perhaps t
Apr 01, 2010 Catherine rated it really liked it
Sandra Tsing-Loh is hilarious, brilliant, and refreshingly honest. One of the most interesting things about this book: although it's about Los Angeles and is called "depth takes a holiday," she makes a point in the prologue to say that she isn't actually making fun of LA, but saying that sometimes it's necessary to just take it easy and read a light magazine or something--thus taking a holiday from everything depth-oriented ;).

That said, she does skewer many things about her home turf, LA, beca
D.M. Dutcher
Aug 21, 2015 D.M. Dutcher rated it did not like it
The first story in the book is a hymn to Ikea.

This is a collection of short vignettes about whatever a particularly neurotic upper-middle class woman living in LA thinks about. Most don't really go anywhere, and all of them are particularly dated. She plays Nintendo! She is amazed at multimedia CD-Roms! She comments on open-mic poetry readings! Lesbianism! Etc.

None of them are really long enough to give any depth on whatever she carries, and she's not a good enough writer to make us care about
Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym)
I'm never sure what to think about journalistic collections like this. They always vary in tone depending on the outlet for whom the piece was originally written. You end up feeling like you're reading somebody's personal portfolio, their writing resume in action, instead of a cohesive book with a theme and an evolution.

Overall, Loh's work is very readable, and the essays are - God bless 'em - short (2 pages each on average). A few are much funnier than others. "White Trash" and one about talkin
May 16, 2007 Ian rated it really liked it
For my money, the best of the humorous-NPR-essay set. She brandishes a razor-sharp wit but never takes herself too seriously, doesn't get all artsy like David Sedaris with the weird animal stories he's been crapping out for This American Life lately. She's got the self-absorbed, West Coast, low-rent Tom Wolfe style down pat and she's smart enough to ride that sucker all the way to Judgment Day. Not to mention, she's probably the funniest writer I've ever read. Her book reviews in The Atlantic co ...more
Jun 08, 2007 Punk rated it it was ok
Non-fiction essays. Loh's a writer, a performance artist, a one-woman show, and a former temp in the great city of Los Angeles. Originally published back in the 90s (Buzz magazine, LA Weekly, NPR), these essays are energetic, sarcastic odes to LA. They're a little outdated and probably suffer from being taken out of context, but Loh's biting voice is front and center.

Two stars -- the quality of the writing varies, probably because the intended audience differed for each piece, but in book form i
Dec 21, 2009 Lennie rated it really liked it
A collection of essays, written by a fellow Angeleno, regarding the L.A. scene. Some topics include Hollywood, cultural art, pick-up lines, and poetry readings. She even pokes fun at some neighborhoods within L.A. like the Valley, West Covina, and Torrance (where I'm from) but it's all in good humor, so no offense is taken. I found myself nodding in agreement, a few times, as she describes the 405 freeway and Parking Lot C at LAX but most of the time, her essays made me smile or chuckle. A nice, ...more
Nick Duretta
Aug 20, 2011 Nick Duretta rated it liked it
I've had this book on my shelf for ages (a gift years ago from a friend), and was tired of looking at it sitting there, so I decided to finally read the damn thing. Loh is a gifted and witty writer, but this collection of columns from various L.A. publications is now very, very dated, concerning itself with topics such as Baywatch and Ikea. Her depiction of L.A. as a vast cultural wasteland is certainly nothing new. I don't know what she's doing these days, but I hope she's moved on to better th ...more
I was looking for some levity between A Gift upon the Shore and The Scar. I can't say I didn't think that L.A. would be a horrendous place to live. The only writer who has endeared it to me is Francesca Lia Block. Sandra is resigned to it in a snerky, semi-hysterical way. It's mostly funny, but also uncomfortable to watch. Most of the essays are probably magazine pieces and I may have heard some on the Loh Life. It's funnier to hear her read them in the KCRW archives. (January 03, 2004)
Nov 02, 2012 Ruthiella rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
Melissa gave me this book in 2000. Thanks Melissa and sorry it took me 12 years to read it! Depth Takes a Holiday is a selection of essays which explore the trends and foibles of the mid-ninety's Los Angeles demographic. While the quality of the essays is uneven, on the whole, the collection was a funny, insightful and self-depractory observation Tsing Loh's life as an artist and an Angeleno.
Wendy Yu
Aug 30, 2011 Wendy Yu rated it really liked it
It's jarring to read somebody from an older generation making WHAT YOU THOUGHT WERE HIP REFERENCES FROM YOUR GENERATION (e.g. Ikea, Trader Joe's). In fact, I somehow thought her whole style of funny pop culture referencing memoir writing was younger than this tattered used book from a closing-down used bookstore. I'm not even young anymore, but I feel an enormous amount of youthful folly/shame for thinking we invented everything. For shame, me!

Book dish: Trader Joe's two buck chuck.
Feb 18, 2013 Mia rated it liked it
Shelves: mixed, essays, memoir, 2013
Really funny, especially for those who live in/love Los Angeles. Very dated at times (think CD-ROMs and IBM computers) but still rings true to the experiences of lost, broke, entitled (but also redeemingly self-aware?) aspiring artists in their 20s. At times reads like a funnier Sex and the City or an edgier Bridget Jones's Diary. Devoured this in one day and plan to read "Aliens in America" next.

Oct 11, 2009 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liked it pretty well. She is very funny and snarky. She's got some LOL bits. I love the Ikea one and some of her others. I love the one where she says she should've lived in NY when she was younger. I feel that way too. I think I would've liked her more if I had read her before Cynthia Heimel, but as that didn't happen, it's okay. It's cool that the futon set have a voice and she's trying to do what CH did for NY.
May 19, 2007 Brimley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book a few years ago after I had spent time in LA. I was shocked because I LIKED LA, and as a Seattle native I thought I should feel differently. This book made be laugh because I found myself thinking the similar thoughts after meeting people at parties and wondering what planet they were from.

She has such a shrewd eye for telling funny details. I can't go to Trader Joe's without thinking of her.

The title alone is priceless.
Aug 28, 2008 Anittah rated it liked it
Recommends it for: folks who think sarcasm is still cool
This book made me laff but definitely had dated references (e.g., people using wooden bowls they'd purchased from Trader Joe's to serve salad in an attempt to seem ethnic) that made me appreciate the importance of not clinging to cultural shortcuts if trying to craft something with a longer literary shelf life.
Aug 09, 2009 Bri rated it it was amazing
Great bathroom reading! I've had this book for at least six years, and it's still funny every time I open it. Highly recommended is her essay on Ikea and "downwardly mobile professionals" (dumpies). So very So Cal, and so wonderful.
Aug 26, 2007 Mike rated it it was amazing
A bit dated now, perhaps, but for those of us who spent the mid- to late-90s mired in Los Angeles, a very appreciable and hilarious read.
Jan 14, 2014 Jenny rated it it was ok
Sometimes funny, but fairly dated and many of the essays are so short they seem insignificant, like she put in all the detail to set the scene and then left the meaningful part out.
Apr 24, 2008 Deborah rated it really liked it
A little outdated, but she's quite the raconteur nonetheless. I'm looking forward to reading her more recent work.
Alice Handley
Apr 25, 2008 Alice Handley rated it really liked it
Maybe you have to be a certain age (coughgenerationx) and from a certain place (coughsoutherncalifornia), but I find this hilarious.
Cara Stevens
Feb 17, 2014 Cara Stevens rated it it was amazing
If you've ever lived in LA, you'll get a great laugh out of this book. Her observations are spot-on and funny!
Margery Walshaw
Jan 07, 2014 Margery Walshaw rated it liked it
Light, funny, a great summer read especially for anyone who, like me, grew up in Los Angeles. You'll enjoy the references to pop culture, popular restaurants and Sandra Tsing Loh's observant humor.
Kristine Forbes
Kristine Forbes rated it really liked it
Nov 05, 2013
Catherine rated it liked it
Oct 04, 2012
Sally Nordquist
Sally Nordquist rated it really liked it
Aug 04, 2014
Lori rated it did not like it
Jan 12, 2009
Karen rated it really liked it
Sep 17, 2016
Angie Cain
Angie Cain rated it it was amazing
Sep 21, 2016
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Writer and performer Sandra Tsing Loh is a contributing editor to The Atlantic, host of the syndicated radio show The Loh Down on Science, and the author of five previous books. Her work has appeared in Best American Essays. In addition to having been a regular commentator on NPR’s Morning Edition and PRI’s This American Life, she has performed two solo shows off-Broadway. She lives in Pasadena, C ...more
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