I enjoy reading. I really do! It’s just sometimes I don’t have the patience to sit and read for hours on end like I did when I was 8. I blame technology. And sometimes my eyes are bigger than my literary stomach and I find myself dropping $40 on a stack of books that I have not the time nor attention span to actually read. I blame consumerism. But every once in a while I’m knocked out by a bad case of word vomit. By the time I come to, I’m regurgitating literary themes I researched on Shmoop while waving around my unopened copy of whatever book the poor, unsuspecting soul in front of me happened to bring up. I blame my incessant need for people to like me.
1. Nightwood by Djuna Barnes
Written by the great queer author/expat Djuna Barnes, I made this purchase in the hopes of becoming an ~intellectual~ gay. T.S. Eliot described Nightwood as “so good a novel that only sensibilities trained on poetry can wholly appreciate it.” Apparently, my sensibilities are anything but; I couldn’t get through the first chapter. That didn’t stop me from giving an “informed” summary of it to my women’s studies class last month. Look, I just need one movie moment where I lock eyes with the person sitting across from me at a cafe who happens to be reading the same ornate novel I am so that we can fall in love and produce a hoard of hyper-intelligent children who will one day take over the world. Is that so much to ask??
2. Fried Green Tomatoes by Fannie Flagg
I love Kathy Bates. I love movies made in the 90’s. And I LOVE Fried Green Tomatoes. So when I discovered that it was based on a novel, I walked on over to my local bookstore – *cough*Amazon- and purchased my own copy- *cough**cough*kindle e-book-. But then the purchase confirmation page suggested Mindy Kaling’s second autobiography and, well… I only had $12 in my bank account. FGT was promptly exchanged. Insert cringe face emoji here. I even had the balls to tell my mom that “in the book Idgie and Ruth are even gayer” the next time we watched it together.
3. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
Nobody makes mental illness look hot like Angelina Jolie. But a friend told me that the book gave a better insight into the author’s two years spent at an asylum in the 60’s, and that the movie was more melodrama than biopic. A week after I bought it, however, I was diagnosed with chronic depression, so this one remains tucked away on my nightstand. I guess I just want to maintain the belief that were I ever institutionalized it would be all lesbian sex and cherry sundaes. I’m nervous that the book will give me the less sugar-coated (no pun intended) reality of the situation. Too dark? Sorry. Moving on!
4. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Did anybody else have a thing for the kid who played Calvin in the 2003, Oprah-less movie adaptation? Leave a list of your most obscure childhood crushes below. Yes, I realize that a lot of my book purchases are based on my sexual attraction to characters in movies. Sue me! Anyways, in high school, I went on a drama field trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. They were putting on a production of “A Wrinkle in Time”, so I bought the book in preparation. I planned on reading it during our free time, but… have you seen Ashland? Vintage clothing stores, rivers, hippies; there was too much to do! After the show, our group got to meet a cast member to ask theater questions, and who should come out but, you guessed it, Calvin! Suh-woon. Theater Calvin was even hotter than movie Calvin, albeit a lot less age appropriate. What was a girl to do but impress him with my hastily Googled knowledge of the book?
5. How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh
Okay, so I didn’t technically purchase this one. I work in a middle school library, mostly just shelving books and acting as the teachers’ personal lamination bitch. When we first ordered this title, one of my favorite students informed me that I “just had to read it.” I couldn’t say no, but I figured she’d forget soon enough and I’d never actually have to read this genZ life manual written by a YouTuber I didn’t even watch. When she asked what I thought of it two weeks later, I couldn’t let her down. I ended up bullshitting my way through a 20-minute conversation with a 12-year-old. Don’t look at me like that! Most of these kids hate me, okay?? I get paid to tell them to shut up.
And there you have it! Am I proud? No. Will I ever get around to actually reading these? Maybe! Will I continue to convince others of my intellectual prowess by any means necessary?