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06 May 2012

I Recommend You Read This!!!

I am the sort of reader that does not believe in reading as a solitary activity. Quite the opposite. If I am reading something good I like to talk about it, but this is very hard if the other person has not read the book as well. I will read out loud the good bits to anyone near me.  Beloved Proof Reader heard half of 'Cat's Cradle' and most of 'Moby Dick' this way.  It is one thing to say,"this book is about a lonely, suicidal werewolf" and quite another to discuss the guilt, blood, sharp details, motivations of the protagonist or descriptions of London in the moonlight.

I should point out that if I do not like what I am reading, I am even louder.  The 'Twilight' series were so terrible I asked another adult to read book 1 in case I was being overly sensitive.  It turns out these books are just badly written.  My point is that I will complain long and loud about bad books.  I hate to be robbed of money and time.  Bad writing is not a matter of taste.  I may not like 'The Scarlett Letter' but the book is beautifully written.  A good story idea can be ruined by bad writing.

Beloved Proof Reader hates being told anything important in a book; he thinks I give too much away.  To be fair, he often notices different things than I do, so he finds it annoying to read a book with someone else's preconceptions.  But, if I don't mention an essential theme how do I get him to read the book so as to discuss the essential theme?  By the way, have any of you read 'Catch 22'? great book.  Well you get it, I have my very own reader's catch 22.

Some of my nearest and dearest sought to deflect my literary lectures by convincing me to keep a blog.  Fools!  MUAHAHAHA!!!  I have two broad topics with which I bore my friends: books and food.  My poor victims are often very polite and promise most sincerely to read my new favorite writer at the first available opportunity.  Liars... which is understandable, after all, it counts as a "white lie" i.e. prevents violence to my person ('cause I am driving her/them crazy) and I shut up.  I also have well read friends who will patiently listen, even look at the book I am vigorously swinging under their nose and finally say "Oh, I read this."  Liars.  It is a very disconcerting experience for me.  How dare they read something sooner than me?  But, I shut up and move on to a different topic (or book), which is probably what they had in mind.  

I must add though, that it is always more fun to give than to receive, especially book recommendations. So what happens if someone traps me between a wall and a good book?  Good question.  My reaction depends on the source.  If the source is one of my well-read friends, then I trust their opinion.  If it is someone who thought "Twilight" was good, then she is not trustworthy.  Recommendations or reviews on Amazon are often a matter of luck.  'The Economist' and 'The Wall Street Journal' are great sources of book reviews, especially when I want to read non-fiction.

In defense of my booky conversations, I argue that it is healthier to discuss the suicidal tendencies of a werewolf than the vitriolic tendencies of a real couple who's marriage is currently falling apart.  I may come off as an awful bore but at least I won't come off as just plain awful.  There is something exciting about opening a papery object and stepping into another world.  It is easy, cheap, good against dementia and provides me with something pleasant to talk about.  Let's face it, we do too much complaining and worrying.  When I accost a friend with 'The Elegance of the Hedgehog', I want to share beauty and joy.  I do hope you understand because it is perfectly obvious to most of my friends that this blog has only made things worse.


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