Thursday, August 26, 2010

Why I Lie About What I Read....

I stopped reading serious literature years ago but people assume that because I’m surrounded by good literature I must be reading it. Well let me tell you that once you begin on the trashy stuff you don’t go back. So when an earnest teenager asks me what I think of Gravity’s Rainbow, I make a little humming sound and hope he mistakes my cluelessness for tongue-tied awe. And when a professor compares the work of several well-known poets whom I’ve never even heard of, and being professorial he is quite content to talk about it without soliciting my opinion, I simply nod here and there and laugh knowingly at the right parts. Sometimes I laugh knowingly at the wrong parts and get an odd look. But here’s what I don’t get and it happens every day. A woman is browsing and picks up a book titled something like Heart and Soul about a woman who discovers herself. Probably in Tuscany. She holds up the book and asks, have you read this? I answer that its women’s fiction and no man in his right mind would even pick up the book, what with all the pastel colors and squiggly fonts. She proceeds to inform me that she knows a man who has read it (a damn lie) and that I shouldn’t be such a sexist. Novels are not, she declares, gender specific. Her confidence in this theory is severely shaken however when she glances down and spies what I'm reading, a 1952 science-fiction novel called Alien Brain-Eaters, its cover a red dagger-toothed alien vomiting brains onto a near-naked girl.


  1. Bless your jolly old soul, you grumpy old fart ;?)

  2. If only Alien Brain-Eaters featured a female protagonist discovering herself and were set in Tuscany...