I'm ready to start some new books so tell me what to read. I’m not saying I’ll actually read what you tell me to read, but I love it when people make suggestions of what they think I will like. I’m almost done with my (signed) David Sedaris books. The best one is Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. The next best is Me Talk Pretty One Day. The best line from Me Talk Pretty One Day is, “Is thems the thoughts of cows?” I’m struggling to get through a book called The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. I thought it would be good because the main character is a deaf mute but it’s not panning out the way I had hoped. I’m also reading this non-fiction book I heard about on NPR called Changing Minds with the hope of learning how to control people and bend them to my will. It’s not unusual for me to read more than one book at once. You might say my appetite for reading is insatiable. Or you might say I am too lazy to move to another room so I just read whatever book happens to be closest to me.
I’m not one of those people who “doesn’t watch T.V.” We all know those people are liars, but it is true that I don’t watch T.V. during the day. I have Tivo, so I can watch what I want when I want. And, well, let’s just say that the kinds of shows I watch aren’t the kinds of shows I want to watch with my children, if you know what I mean. (Ok, I was just being a little gross because I thought it sounded funny. I don’t really watch anything naughty. But I do watch shows that I would not let my kids watch, like Law and Order—especially the first 5 minutes when they find the dead body). During the day I spend a lot of time sitting there “playing” with my kids. I like to read while I do this because sometimes it’s boring. That doesn’t mean I don’t love my kids, I’m just telling you like it is. The point is--I do read a fair amount.
I am in two book clubs but one is reading Rousseau’s On the Social Contract. Ex-squeeze me? Not reading that in college was painful enough. My other book club is pretty fun, except I am considered a rabble rouser because of my recommendation of the somewhat earthy biblical tale, The Red Tent. “Shouldn’t we be reading Rebekah by Orson Scott Card?" asked one faint-hearted member who loves Fahrenheit 451 which, I’m sorry, is just no longer a relevant book. Hobos memorizing classics is cool but the rest has not aged well. It’s now lame. I’m an English teacher and you can quote me on that.
I’ve kind of been on a non-fiction kick for a while but that doesn’t mean I’m opposed to fiction. I need some good fiction. And I’m certainly not a snob. But I just have to say, I’m probably not going to read the Work and the Glory. I mean, I just don’t see the point of reading fictional church books. If I’m going to put in some time with church history it sure as he[ck] better be true church history so I can get credit for it. That’s just the way I feel. Like why would I eat a rice cake that had 10,000 calories?
Maybe I’m in the mood for some Stephen King. I like him. I got a little obsessed with him about 3 years ago. It was not unlike my current obsession with David Sedaris. But I don’t want to hang out with Stephen King. When I read Bag of Bones I was so scared I had to sleep with the light on. It’s sort of horrible and R rated so I wouldn’t let Christian read it. It made me feel better to keep one of us pure. In an interview Stephen King himself said that of all his writing there is a scene in that book which actually scared him while he was writing it. This ghost communicates by knocking on the insulation in the basement. That’s what I would do if I were a ghost. And if I had a basement--which I don’t because I live in stinkin’ swamplands. You might think swamplands would be scarier than insulation in a basement but they're not. A ghost in a swamp is such a Scooby Doo cliché. It’s been done to death.
The funny thing about me reading Bag of Bones is that I pictured it happening in my family’s cabin which is, let’s just say, primitive. It is dear and charming, but it is probably not what Stephen King meant. He described rooms and rooms and cleaning ladies and I just thought of the one main room in our cabin and instead of a cleaning lady I thought of the hand-written poem next to the toilet: “All us folks with holding tanks/Give to you a heartfelt thanks/For putting nothing in the pot/That isn’t guaranteed to rot/No Kotex, Tampax, Kleenex too/Cigarettes and matches--they’re all Taboo!"
Of course my all time favorite book is John Irving’s A Prayer for Own Meany. Another book I really like is by Tova Mirvis called The Ladies Auxiliary. If you like Mormons, you’ll LOVE Jews. No need to recommend the Da Vinci Code. Read it. Believe every word of it. A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel is another favorite. And I won’t tell you any more about the kind of non-fiction I read because it would reveal way too much about my private life and my geeky interests. That said, tell me what to read.