The frayed outskirts of Southern California paradise may not be familiar territory, but you'll recognize the inhabitants. Born too late for the affluent '80s, the rapidly aging post-gen Xers in these trenchant, bittersweet and very funny dispatches stumble toward the millennium in Payless shoes, plugging away at soul-deadening temp jobs until they can line up that lucrative, consulting-over-the-Internet-on-a-part-time-basis deal.
When she's not defining her demographics by degree of IKEA-lust, L.A. native Tsing Loh—a Buzz magazine columnist and NPR commentator—focuses her high beams on current phenomena, from Baywatch to cyber-sex to Nintendo Power Magazine, tempering even her most barbed observations with rueful, self-deprecating humor. If life has been all downhill since you were labeled a gifted child, let this wicked wit of the West tickle your reluctantly adult psyche. (River-head, $22.95)