This unusual (for lack of a better name) book is, as the front cover says, “not exactly a memoir”, but “a book about…being alive.” Published in 2016 ten years after Rosenthal’s Ordinary Life, it is a mix of the author’s thoughts, musings, and feelings on “things” and life in general. The “text” in Textbook, the title, has multiple meanings. The reader can actually send a text to the author, it is a textbook divided into nine different disciplines from “Geography to ” “Language Arts,” and it often has pictures of texts the author has received. Sometimes there is only one sentence on a page; sometimes the page is blank, presumably to allow the reader to pause and think about what was just shown or written. Sometimes the text is a record of thoughts that struck Rosenthal on a facsimile/picture as follows:
In curator style, the author has aligned on the page,
ink printed on a disposable napkin
dispensed at a local restaurant, 1999”
A picture of the napkin where Rosenthal has written follows,
“Aren’t we just trying to leave one, good, lasting thing behind?”
And hasn’t the author written one, unique textbook here?