First of all, Arbitrary Stupid Goal is not about football. (It’s just a funny cover.) It is, ostensibly, about the general store Tamara Shopsin’s parents ran in Greenwich Village, which they turned into a diner so they could keep making rent, and which became a small, secret legend. But it’s really about the old, weird Village, where freaks, crooks, artists, and general misfits—the “fringe people” who were the true lifeblood of the city—made a community. Shopsin grew up there, crawling among the diners’ legs, then bussing tables and cooking while building a career as a graphic designer (it’s her funny cover), and her appealing, oddball memoir, crammed with people and anecdotes like Shopsin’s messy menu, will make you think she got just about the best human education possible.
—Tom Nissley, Phinney Books, Seattle, WA