Thursday, November 13, 2008

Addendum: Reading Habits

A while back, I wrote a Guide to Encountering a Reader. I am testing the effect of books on the populace boss gave me some books basically as a thank you for not a.) leaving or b.) hiding in the supply closet and refusing to come out when basically the whole department was out, unexpectedly, at once. For the better part of two months. Things are good now. So okay, she gave me these books (yes, she is awesome), all of which I am excited about. I have them on my desk today, and unfortunately, said desk is the reception desk, so there is a lot of traffic. As a result of this experiment, I have several addenda to the original guide.

1. Stop touching my shit. It is not your book. If you would like to look at it, a simple "do you mind?" will suffice. I realize I am more anal retentive than most but seriously, it's my shit, leave it alone, or I'm going to go to your desk and rifle through your purse.

2. I cannot say this enough...there is no place in my heart for Janet Evanovich nor any other dreckpeddlers of her kind. The writing is shit, the stories are at best fucking stupid and at worst an affront to every positive -ism ever, from feminism to humanism, and they are all the same. Why in the blue fuck would I want to read the SAME STUPID ASS STORY NINETEEN TIMES? I would not.

3. To this end, please learn to identify how books are typically grouped. I mentioned this previously and it still stands true. If you are confronted with a pile of books from Augusten Burroughs, Thomas Pynchon, Michael Chabon and Neil Gaiman, just swallow whatever romance-novel-oriented lunacy you were about to get all over me and go the hell away.

4. Let's just all agree to not criticize anyone's reading choices before actually reading the book in question, shall we? You know how I know Danielle Steel reads like People Magazine for remedial high schoolers? Because I have read it. Do not look at the "scary" picture on the cover of a book and say "Ooh, A MEMOIR OF MY FATHER! I don't know if I want to read THAT! Why would you read THAT?" Because I am allergic to stupid and I read books like that to innoculate myself against contagious people like you, is why. The literary benefit and mind expansion potential that books provide...that's just gravy.

5. If you are the creepy guy at work and I am eating lunch with a book beside me, try to refrain from coming over in complete silence, hovering over the book, and then making a weird comment. For real now. If you're the creepy hoverer in GENERAL, just do the planet a favor and cut it the fuck out. You are alarming me, all observers, and probably any small children in the vicinity. It is not socially acceptable.

6. I realize that we're reached a point as a society where people don't read "hard" books, which apparently now means "anything over 150 pages, in small text, that isn't about Harry Potter or vampires," but I really don't think it's asking so much for me to expect you to make the mental leap from the presence of "hard books" to my having bought them because I like them or want to own them for some reason. I really don't. Why has this been an issue throughout the whole fucking day?


  1. You know what? Just don't talk to me while I'm reading unless it's an emergency that affects me.

  2. Danielle Steel reads like People Magazine for remedial high schoolers?

    Hahahaha! God I fucking hate people. The worst, though, is talking to people you respect and think are intelligent about books, and then they recommend you read Mitch Albom or Judy Picoult.

  3. Hmmm...since I've started reading as a writer I have to disagree with you. Pretty much any writing can be used for study and a greater understanding of manipulating the written word. Diversified reading leads to a better writing style. Anyone who wants to write should be reading EVERYTHING they can get their hands on. I learned the hard way when I discounted Stephen King, only to discover that he's a fucking writing genius, even if I don't like many of his stories.