Christian Lander

Yes! After being ignored in favor of Portland and Vancouver, BC in his first book, Christian Lander has put us in the subtitle of Whiter Shades of Pale: The Stuff White People Like, Coast to Coast, From Seattle’s Sweaters to Maine’s Microbrews (Random House, $15). There’s even an accompanying line drawing to illustrate our heavy woolen smugness and ossified Nirvana pride. But, Lander cautions, “When talking to a Seattle white person about music, it’s best to let them believe that their city’s relevance extended well beyond a brief period from 1991 to 1994.” Whiter Shades of Pale is organized by region and subject; it’s a taxonomy of behaviors and affinities—Christopher Guest movies, ironic ugly sweater parties, the iPhone Hipstamatic app—that like-minded urbanites use to pretend we aren’t all so alike. The book’s an insightful, hilarious chronicle of our desperate attempts to be unique, from fetishizing sea salt to collecting vintage maps. (A corollary: No one admits to shopping at Ikea, though we all do.) All of which serves the white person’s goal: “to be slightly different from their friends and to inspire at least a small amount of jealousy.” During the coming holiday season, this book is the perfect gift for someone exactly like you. BRIAN MILLER

Mon., Dec. 6, 7 p.m., 2010

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