If you were in the audience at any of Aziz Ansari’s recent Las Vegas tour stops (or saw his last two Netflix specials), you know the 32-year-old comedian has been obsessed with making sense of modern romance. You may have even let him read aloud your text messages—to someone named “Alex (Boobs)” if you were at Mandalay Bay last October—for research purposes. Ansari has mulled over findings from his stand-up surveys, focus groups, and scientific studies to assemble—with the help of Going Solo author/sociologist Eric Klinenberg—a hilarious examination of the “It’s Complicated” relationship between technology and love, Modern Romance ($29, Penguin Press).
Those who adored Ansari as Parks & Recreation’s Tom Haverford or stage persona Randy will be excited to know that that eager comedic voice also radiates from his debut prose. Alongside pie charts backed by university research, for example, Ansari muses: “Another popular way partners found each other in 1990 was when a man would yell something to the effect of ‘Hey, girl, come back here with that fine butt that’s in them fly-ass acid-wash jeans and let me take you to a Spin Doctors/Better Than Ezra concert.’” (Which is probably at least a little bit accurate.)
It’s not a guidebook for dating, or playbook for pickup artists (Hallelujah!) Instead, Ansari’s mix of personal anecdotes, historical trends and original research gives readers (particularly in the target demo of twenty- and thirty-something, smartphone savvy singles) contemporary and entertaining insight into the age-old quest for love. And yes, it comes in audio- and e-book versions, too.