Woo Hoo! According to the article “I Bet You Look Good in the Bookstore” in The Guardian, which I got from Lisa’s blog, reading is hot! Yeah baby. No longer is that woman with her nose in a book a shy, wallflower using the book as a wall to ward off unwanted visitors, it’s an invitation. That book you’re reading could influence other’s opinion of you, maybe even flirting with you.
OK, I admit it. I sneak peeks at what people are reading and form an opinion from that. Not a snobbish opinion, usually. More of a “Wow, he likes mysteries, too,” kind of opinion. And if someone is reading an “Oprah” book, I immediately turn away, that’s where the snobbery comes in. I started out reading books on Oprah’s list but I got so damn depressed I just couldn’t do it any more. So, Oprah books are a no-no. Plus self-help books. Those things drive me crazy, too. I’ve read some, but they aren’t telling me anything I don’t know. A self-help book for me would say, “Get off you duff, Kell, and do something!”
The article says that erotica, horror, self-help, and chick-lit books are a turn off, but classics, biographies, and modern library fiction are turn ons. I can see that I guess. But, are you really impressed with someone reading The Great Gatsby, or do you just think you should be. The real test comes when you start talking about the book.
Aaahhh, and there’s the rub. Just reading a book isn’t enough for me—I want to talk about what I’ve read. Too many years immersed in literary criticism maybe, but I don’t have to have a dissertation on whether Hamlet was really insane, either. Just, what was it that you liked or didn’t like and why? And that drives my hubby crazy. This is the way our conversations about books go:
[he closes a book he’s finished]
Me: How was your book?
Me: Did you like it?
Him: I wouldn’t have read it if I didn’t.
[he heads to the kitchen for something to drink]
Our discussions on movies go the same way.
And yes, I’ve been in reading groups before. It starts out great, but there’s usually a handful of women (these groups are mostly women) who only want to read about women overcoming something, and I just can’t take it any more. There are so many different genres out there—broaden your horizons. It always reminds me of that Saturday Night Live skit that spoofed that horrible book The Bridges of Madison County. It was the only book the women read and they had really lost touch with reality, to the point where they kept looking in National Geographic for this man’s photos of bridges. Besides, in the group I was in, none of the women would read the book and the evening would quickly dissolve into complaints about their husbands or stories about the cute thing their kids did. I’m a little jaded now.
So, back to the original subject. What books would you be impressed by and what would you avoid? I’m just dying to know!