Skip to Main Content

Something That May Shock and Discredit You

Named one of the most anticipated books of the year by Entertainment Weekly, O, The Oprah Magazine, BuzzFeed, Electric Literature, Yahoo Lifestyle, and Bitch Media

“A delightful hybrid of a book… You’ll laugh, you'll cry, often both at once. Everyone should read this extraordinary book.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

From the New York Times bestselling author of Texts From Jane Eyre and Merry Spinster, writer of Slate’s “Dear Prudence” column, and cofounder of The Toast comes a hilarious and stirring collection of essays and cultural observations spanning pop culture—from the endearingly popular to the staggeringly obscure.

Daniel Mallory Ortberg is known for blending genres, forms, and sources to develop fascinating new hybrids—from lyric rants to horror recipes to pornographic scripture. In his most personal work to date, he turns his attention to the essay, offering vigorous and laugh-out-loud funny accounts of both popular and highbrow culture while mixing in meditations on gender transition, family dynamics, and the many meanings of faith.

From a thoughtful analysis of the beauty of William Shatner to a sinister reimagining of HGTV’s House Hunters, and featuring figures as varied as Anne of Green Gables, Columbo, Nora Ephron, Apollo, and the cast of Mean Girls, Something That May Shock and Discredit You is a hilarious and emotionally exhilarating compendium that combines personal history with cultural history to make you see yourself and those around you entirely anew. It further establishes Ortberg as one of the most innovative and engaging voices of his generation—and it may just change the way you think about Lord Byron forever.

Photograph by Grace Lavery

Daniel M. Lavery is the “Dear Prudence” advice columnist at Slate, the cofounder of The Toast, and the New York Times bestselling author of Texts From Jane Eyre and The Merry Spinster.

Photograph by Grace Lavery

Daniel M. Lavery is the “Dear Prudence” advice columnist at Slate, the cofounder of The Toast, and the New York Times bestselling author of Texts From Jane Eyre and The Merry Spinster.

“A delightful hybrid of a book…blends genres with expert facility….Throughout, Ortberg's writing is vulnerable but confident, specific but never narrow, literal and lyrical. The author is refreshingly unafraid of his own uncertainty, but he's always definitive where it counts….You'll laugh, you'll cry, often both at once. Everyone should read this extraordinary book.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Fans of Ortberg will welcome his signature wit in this impossible-to-classify audiobook. Though newcomers may feel slightly adrift, Ortberg's narration is undeniably powerful. He combines memoir, Biblical exegesis, and trans retellings of fiction and myth into a book about gender and transition unlike any other. His narration is multilayered and alive. One moment his voice scrapes raw; the next, it's full of delight. He'll have you laughing one moment and weeping the next. His voice swings from vulnerable to silly, tender to dry. Sometimes his irreverence shines through—as in his voicing of Greek gods in a trans reimagining of Athena's birth. Sometimes he speaks with breath-catching honesty about his uncertainty surrounding transition. Every moment of this audiobook is a joy to listen to." —Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award, AudioFile Magazine

“Ortberg brings the full force of his wit and literary depth to this genre-bending essay collection, [which] intersperses searingly honest passages about his journey as a transgender man with laugh-out-loud funny literary pastiche….an often hilarious, sometimes discomfiting, but invariably honest account of one man’s becoming.” ––Publishers Weekly

“Like all of his work, Something That May Shock and Discredit You is a stand-alone pillar in Ortberg’s remarkable canon, one in which the lines typically drawn around topic and genre are obliterated, resulting in a wide-open field of possibility.” —Electric Literature