Thursday, July 06, 2006

just exactly how many times CAN you beat a dead horse? lets find out.

Once again I am sick. I have bronchitis. I feel very, very grumpy. The doctor gave me Azithromycin, so after I take that I will be asleep for the rest of the day having dreams that David Lynch would envy.
In the middle dealing with that, we hosted a childrens party here for one of the guys that the Yummy Biker works with.
These children have no future I am sorry to say. Their parents are collectively the stupidest, dullest, hyuk-yukkinest, mouth breathing, replacement clone Joad-beasts it has been my misfortune to host in some time. Thus, the following.

I am proud to say that I KNOW that I am preaching to the converted in large part here.
And I love you for that, my darlings!
But this is Blogworld, and I can shout from my virtual rooftop and not worry about tranquilizer darts. And I need to. (worry about tranquilizer darts.)

To wit:
I am tired of not having a meat peer group that I don't have to sign up for as though it were group fucking therapy.
Book circles? Discussion clubs?
I would rather lick the sidewalk in front of the homeless mission.
I would rather stick a lit cigarette in my eye.


I am not rich, I am not from a good family, and I do not have a degree.
Nobody made me.
None of it was required for a grade.

And it gets much worse.
I don't watch much television.
I like history.
I read nonfiction.
I even have rules.

-In the beginning, once I picked up a book or a magazine, I could not put it down. Even if it sucked, even if the contents bothered me, I had to read it cover to cover.
-If I didn't know a word, I went right then and looked it up. If I couldn't, I wrote it on the back of my hand and looked it up when I could.
-I read whatever I wanted to. 'The Boy's Library of Adventure Stories'? I do not think so, Buckwheat. Yes! I am a rebel; bad, mad and dangerous to know!
-If I was probaby not supposed to read it, I made sure to read it FIRST.
-If I liked an author, I had to read everything by that author.
-Read classics. That wasn't hard!
-Read crap. See, in school you are fed 'good writing' and that's all you know. (Well; I guess it would be a waste of the taxpayers money to teach kids out of 'TV Guide', right?) When I first discovered trash fiction, man, my gast was flabbered. Completely worthless fiction without a shred of redeeming value? I am so there.
-Follow it wherever it leads you. Possibly the best and most important rule of all.
-Read different translations of the same text.
-OWN. My house is a book nerds wet dream. Tissues are provided.
-OWN HARD REFERENCE. And I do. A very nice collection, too. If my hard reference was a person I would make dirty, dirty phone calls to it. Then the police would track me down.

These were good rules. They still are.
I've lightened up on the fiction, though. About ten years ago or so I was quite ill with pneumonia-again- and there I was, lying on the couch reading some piece of crap and forcing my way though it simply because I had picked it up. And for the first time in my life I thought "Would I want to die with this garbage in my hands? Fuck that." And so, if I find that the writing blows or that I no longer care what happens to anyone in the story, sayonara.

Is it an American thing? Is it a feminist thing? An age thing? Blogworld is the only place I can regularly find titles that I have read and find that OTHER PEOPLE HAVE READ THEM TOO. Fuck; its the only place I find titles I've never hear of that OTHER people HAVE read. Is it a class thing? What?

I have read more than anyone I presently know.
That includes EVERYONE.* This is not an exaggeration. This is a fact.
I do not talk about it. Even to me it sounds like I'm just flat making up a ridiculous lie.
No shit.
Can I quote like a demon? I cannot. Does that prove I am lying? No, it proves I spent more time reading than I did memorizing quotes to impress YOU.

I am not dangerous, or contagious, or lusting after your underage children, or an arsonist, or a Jehovahs' Witness, or an unwashed nut on the bus who smells like piss and wants to talk to you really really loud about JESUS for the entire busride.
Just well read.
And I might mention a book from time to time.
Fucking deal with it.

*y'all don't count. you could all be magic invisible library pixies for all I know.


  1. Anonymous8:47 AM

    Often I read in the elevator at work, because, y'know, it's 30 seconds of free time, and I'm always asked by co-workers what I'm reading....

    9 times out of 10, I respond with "trash fiction," as it's so much easier than explaining, "Well, see, there's this couple, and he's actually the reincarnation of her dead uncle...."

    There's nothing wrong with reading what we enjoy. It's certainly not hurting anyone.

  2. Am I first? Now I knew you were the real deal before reading this post, but now I can't escape it - we were made for each other. We could sit around, read, listen to Neil Young, garden. Come on - you could hang with worse you know. Maybe you're a distant cousin - there is some questionable ancestary in my family...

  3. people who don't read scare me. It's the first thing I ask at speed dating parties - would you rather read or watch television. It's amazing how many men choose television. That makes them history.

  4. I will not claim to be well-read, only because i know what that looks like and wouldn't dare put myself in that category. However, like greatsheelephant, people who don't read, scare me too. I see them more now that i'm going to school at night. the people there in the Lit classes, who get frustrated at having to look at "Books". Scare. the. shit. out of me. And its not like we're reading James Joyce, here folks. Get a fucking grip.

    /sorry. rant.

  5. Books rule!

    I have plenty of time to read getting to and from work but there's also evenings, first thing saturday morning and a boring sunday afternoon. I don't read in the bath, that would be silly.

    My brother and his wife have barely read a bus ticket between them. I'm worried for their daughters.

  6. i have read like a demon since i was two. small person has followed firmly in my footsteps and is currently reading little house on the prairie (having turned six* at the end of may - yay her!). she, like me, will read the back of the cornflake packet if there's nothing else about.

    myself, i tend towards the trash fiction these days (because i am a) very busy and b) more than slightly convinced that i am in the grip of a minor yet unsettling nervous breakdown), but am currently LOVING american psycho.

    shutting up now.

    * see! i did the agressive-parenting thing! see how much better i am than you! crap.

  7. whinger:yup. every now and then just for kicks i take and buy a stack of tabloid papers and some Doritos and just max out on CRAP!
    g: get on a damn bus NOW. actually, wait a week because ill be sleeping for the next four days.
    gse: amen! amen amen amen! I knew the YB was the man for me because he went straight to the bookcase the morning *ahem* after and pulled a Heinlein to read in the can. loooooove!
    claire: no kidding. hell, i had an english teacher in college who looked at me blankly when i mentioned that nowadays they were teaching William Burroughs in high school. you want scared? fuck. and here i was paying cash money for that education!
    billy: you haven't lived until you have fallen asleep in the tub reading 'Dahlgren' and woke up with a huge swollen mass of paper pulp floating next to your head like a dead grouper.
    surly: same here. I've done my time in the mines, I read 'The Moon and Sixpence' dammit; if i want to put myself through some damn Taylor CAldwell or Ian Flemming then Its my life!
    Caught mine with my copy of 'Aretinos' Dialogues' hidden in her room when she was 10. Ha! I can pee just as far as you can!

  8. I, for one, am heartily sick of all these blogworld know-alls, forever harping on about READING. Like anyone cares. There are better ways to pass the time. I'm just going off to chew on my own toenails - you don't need a bookmark for that.

  9. you should read them Dale Carnegie stuff, you know, anger management and all.

  10. wyhdham: unless you are very, very FAT.
    treespotter: welcome! are you talking to me or wyndham? i was exasperated. wyndham was hungry. how are you?

  11. I read a lot too and I rarely read best-sellers. I chalk this up to my unending issues with authority. So, I understand this notion of going directly to what I am told not to read...except it is more along the lines of if you tell me to read it ("you", as in a mass consumers) I will make sure to avoid it. I have also become able to admit which "classics" I either hate or just never understood. This has been one of the ways I have found my forties useful. This inspires me to do a piece on books I have could be fun.
    I am not imaginary nor any definition of a pixie. So there.

  12. Anonymous8:42 PM

    "Meat peer group"??? Like dead horse?
    Only you, FN, would come up with THAT.

    I read legal briefs, and sometimes I even pay attention to the argument. Mostly, I just enjoy the funny names in the case titles.

  13. Mutha, that was good. I had to pretend to get Waiting for Godot and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Now in my forties, I may glimpse through them one last time before I scratch my head and go huh? I'll try though.

    FN: North by northwest, I'll start out as the crow flies this weekend.

  14. If I can't get into a book after the first chapter, I put it down. My saying is "Life is too short for bad books." I made that decision after reading a book of roughly 500 pages and stopping just before the final chapter because I disliked it so much. Never picked that book up again and still don't know how it ends.

    Very few fiction titles in my household. Most fiction I read once and will probably never read the same title twice. In most cases I can pick up the fiction title I want at the library without forking out big bucks for it.

    But reference books / non-fiction.... yum yum yum! I have a huge ref collection with a lot of very offbeat non-fiction that you can't find at the public library. So my non-fic collection travels with me (boxload upon boxload) whenever I move. Including cross-country moves.

  15. YAY well said F N , I too read everything and anything , I throw away books in the middle if I dont like the people in them...I have to admit that one particular book called 'The Eight' was so badly written I went and burned it in the garden(it made me so angry).I sometimes starve myself of ready for a month and then have to stay in my house all weekend doing nothing else.
    I loved American Phsyco as well Surly , so of his other books with Patricks brother at college are quite good as well but I cant remember the titles.
    But I have a shocking guilty secret
    I occasionally enjoy a Jackie Collins (in the privacay of my own home of course....we are all consenting adults here) What the hell happened to the Kay Scarpetta slice n' dice books (cant remember the author) they suddenly went from hard edged detective/coroner mysteries to total menopausal crap

  16. See FN you got me howling at the moon as well , now they have two targets for the tranquiliser darts

  17. Oh thank god someone else can't remember quotes! I always felt like such a fraud for not being able to.

    I've usually got several books on the go at the same time, each one in a different place in the house plus one in my handbag. I read to the exxclusion of doing anything else, the world (and the housework) can go hang, as long it will just leave me alone with a book. I read anything and everything, good bad or indifferent and I read wherever I can (although like the rest of you - if it doesn't grab me then it's usually cast aside and saved for a time when I've completely run out of other stuff to read). I've got favourite books that I read over and over again, its like going back to holiday in a place that you really liked.

    The trouble is that real readers don't talk about reading because you/we don't read to impress other people. I've never (and would never ) go to a book club/discussion group because...well...urgh. I just wouldn't - I could spend the time reading.

    But, do you want to know something really scary? I was talking to my mum on sunday night and she was telling me that at her last staff meeting her head of dept told them that the lessons next year would not use any text books. There would be no reading or writing involved in any lesson for that subject at all. Instead everything would be "discussion based". It seems to me that us readers are few and far between to begin with and we're about to get an awful lot rarer!

  18. A line in this post disturbed me:-

    "I don't watch much TV"

    hang your head in shame. BTW I'm reading The Liar by Stephen Fry at the mo' - very good.

  19. Oh. My. God.
    HC, your mum's school is really doing away with books!?!?!?! Christ. that's right up there with Man Met Uni deciding that they would no longer deduct marks for spelling and grammar errors.

    The grammar nazi in me finds this general trend of abandoning the skill of good writing appalling. the historian in me is fascinated, as it seems we may be returning to a period of English without as set standard, as it was in the Middle Ages. That lack of standard made possible tremendous growth and development in the language in a very short period of time. (A bit like putting a bonsai tree in a really big pot for a couple years just to see what it does.) The historical and linguistic ramifications of this shift in attitudes to language in our educations system will be far-reaching, mark my words. I'm only sorry I won't live long enough to study it!

    Me, i'm a bibliophile. (There's a 4-syllable word for "book nerd.") I used to love fiction, but in the past few years I've sort of lost my stomach for it. I love history and science books best. (Go red Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. It's history and science. Brilliant!) When I do read fiction it's almost always sci-fi. Robert Heinlein is my god, and I worship him often.

  20. mutha: Thats why I avoided 'Interview With the Vampire' and 'King Rat' for so long; because everywhere I looked people were reading it and exlaaaaaaaaaaaaaiming over how good they were.
    mutant z-man: i would much rather have a peer group comprised of mexican food so if they bored me i could chow down. but meat is so cutting edge internet speak-y.
    g: 'Naked Lunch'. please. a man gets toasted all to fuck and sits in front of a typewriter and I have to worship the snot that blows out? i think not.
    mj: yeah. exactly. titles, baby! gimme titles!
    beast: no kidding on the Patricia Cornwell. the last one i read was more character development and soppy inner life recounting than it was story; and the good stuff all happened offstage! wtf????
    hendrix: me too on the fiction faves. just finished 'Watership Down' for the zillionth time. Gaah on the no boks at school thing. Could it be a response to high textbook prices? One hopes. I know mine cost a zillion bajillion.
    ratty: hey, if theres a good thing on mummies, autopsies, police procedure or history-medieval stuff im all over it. Lifestyles of the Rich and Tasteless? nope.
    cb: Guns, Germs and Steel? that was a Discovery Channel miniseries! omg, theres a book? I AM THERE!!!!!! I loved 'Civilization and Disease' and Phillip Zeiglers book on the Black Plague; they changed the way I looked at cultural development right down to the ground.

  21. Funny you should mention cigarettes and eyes. The other day, I decided to impress my friends by tossing a lit cigarette into my mouth - cirque de soleil style. Unfortunately, I was absolutely banjaxed, missed, and ... well, you can guess the rest.

    Suffice to say that if I ever want to relive the moment I became partially sighted, it has been recorded for posterity on a friend's mobile phone (which I can now only see half of).

  22. As requested, I've gone over to my bookshelves and compiled a random list of titles. Keep in mind that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Too many titles too list.

    Sex in the World's Religions

    Freakshow: Sideshow Banner Art

    Soda Pop: From Miracle Medicine to Pop Culture

    I'm a Spam Fan
    (the canned meat, not the unsolicited emails)

    Modern Twang: An Alternative Country Music Guide and Directory

    The TV Theme Song Sing-Along Song Book

    Jackets Required: Book Jacket Design, 1920-1950

    Encyclopedia of Southern Culture

    The First Pet History of the World

    100 Years of Western Wear

    The Encyclopedia of Fictional People

    Fame at Last: Who WAS Who According to the New York Times Obituaries

    Outhouses of Alaska

  23. tbf: psst.....dude, you're blind already.
    omg, you poor doofus. tricks with fire are always a bad idea. i will mention lighting a fart, for instance. you know that i am female...and there we will let that one rest, 'k?
    ever tried to catch m&m's in your mouth and got pegged right in the eyeball? you see fireworks. then you see nothing.
    mj: WOO HOO!! i love the midway freak posters one!!! will so be getting the one about southern culture. my husband will be so thrilled. 'oh. more books' he will say in a dead flat tone of voice, as in 'oh. more corn.'or 'oh. thanks for the burlap sack full of smelt.'

  24. Just for the record...I'm not talking to people on my mom's behalf.
    She forgot to log me out of blogger on my computer.

  25. Sorry I'm late.
    I usually read trash/pulp sci0fi/fantasy fiction but recently I read a huge glot of Oscar Wilde, which was happy making, and at the moment I'm reading Neil Gaiman, which everyone should read. It's called American Gods. I'm also re-reading Hell's Angels (for my school book report...) and some trash history book about pirates.

    But I've been going off the cheapo pulp paperback fantasy because there's only two plotlines, LotR under a different name or Star Wars. See Eragon by Chris Paoloni for details. Mind you, I still think Terry Pratchett is a good thing.

    A note on non-fiction. Pulp/trash science or history is the best. See my Pirates book and also What Do Martians Look Like? by Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen. Both pretty bloody good, actually.

  26. Ha ha, book groups have their uses - as a source of entertainment. People do get so competitive!

    Read what you like, your eyes your brain, I reckon. I don't like being told to read Harry Potter books, or Dan Brown, my choice.

    CB is so right on language change etc. It's already happening. But you have to worry about the idea of 'discussion based' education? What the fuck does that mean?