Sunday, July 15, 2007


Apathy Jack writes:

Literary Musing The First

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab

Jack’s interior dialogue:

“Ooh, looky, an article saying, in effect, that reading gets you laid. Finally; validation for English teachers everywhere.”
“That’s not exactly what the article says...”
I said: Finally; validation for English teachers everywhere. And look: But before you trip off to the park clad in your most fetching sun hat and clutching your copy of the latest Jilly Cooper - be warned. Not just any book will do. Erotic fiction, horror, self-help books and the dreaded chick-lit were all, in fact, deemed turn-offs when it came to love between the covers. Of course women wouldn’t be attracted to anyone reading such nonsense!”
“Okay, Casanova, what are you reading at the moment?”
Atlas Shrugged.”
“You will never again know the touch of a woman.”
“No, wait! I’m also reading What’s Left: how liberals lost their way.”
“You’re going to die alone.”
“But... I have a girlfriend...”
“You won’t once she gets a look at your bookshelf.”
“Hold on! I’m also reading The worst person in the world and 202 other strong contenders, a book of social, political and media commentary by Keith Olbermann.”

Somewhere, a lone cricket chirps.

“Oh come on! What woman in their right mind wouldn’t want Keith's little Oberbabies inside them?”
“For the last time, it’s just you! Now be quiet and get back to your womanless library of obscure American political thought before you disturb the Actual People™. Oh, and try not to get too many tears on the pillow tonight, it’s getting uncomfortable to sleep on.”

Literary Musing The Second

David Slack (from whom I lifted the above Guardian link) points out a comment made at the original article (and they’re as worth reading as the original piece, in my opinion) that states: “Don't judge people for reading Dan Brown - judge people for not hiding it.”

I must say, I disagree. You shouldn’t be ashamed of what you read – even if you should be ashamed of what you’re reading. (That makes sense. Shut up!)

I give you for example: Harry Potter. Now, the Harry Potter series are children’s books. Over the last half decade or so, I’ve been barraged from all sides by cretins and idiots telling me that they're really adults' book disguised as kids' books, or that they can be enjoyed on one level for kids and another for adults.

Shut up.

They're children’s books.

But here’s the thing: that doesn’t matter. If you want to read a kid’s book: read a kid’s book. Don’t wait around to have growed-up covers with paintings of mystic symbols replacing the cartoon pictures of trains – just read the damn book. Before I started on my pile of politicy books, I read UnLunDun, which boldly announces that it’s China Mieville’s first book for younger readers, then I read Skulduggery Pleasant – also a kids' book, and not even trying to hide the fact. After I finish my current stack of books, I have a lot of comics I need to catch up on, so will be reading those on the bus to work in the mornings.

Something isn’t less worth while because it has a cartoon cover. I like the Narnia books, but they’re not for grown-ups; The Screwtape Letters is. I’ve read the first of Lemony Snickett’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and enjoyed it immensely, but it’s for kids; Adverbs is for adults.

So stop whinging and read what you like, dammit. (Unless it’s Harry Potter – I saw that movie yesterday, and I really have no idea what the fuss is about – some twenty-seven year old horse-blinder getting emo for two hours without a beginning or an end? Kids these day...)


David S. said...

I know if I were physically capable of making room for Mr Olbermann's babies inside my skeleton like figure I most certainly would!

Eric Olthwaite said...

“Okay, Casanova, what are you reading at the moment?”
“Atlas Shrugged.”

hmmm, interesting.

But here’s the thing: that doesn’t matter. If you want to read a kid’s book: read a kid’s book.

True, I still enjoy a bit of ASterix from time to time, and even a Roald Dahl. There's nothing wrong with a bit of really really light reading every so often.

Blair said...

Jack, I may have mentioned to you a couple of times CS Lewis's essay on this very topic "On Three Ways of Writing for Children". Finally found a link to it on the interweb.

He makes some good points I think.

Apathy Jack said...

See, reading "What's Left" makes me think: "So that's where we went wrong. I guess I sort of knew that, even if I didn't want to admit it. Ah. here's the chapter on not wanting to admit that we know where we've gone wrong..."

Rereading "Atlas Shrugged" makes me think: "The hell? No one would ever really think this this could work would they? Was Ayn Rand on crack?"

HORansome said...

I'm pleased to see that your previous stance on reading 'kid lit' has softened. Maybe you can be reappraised of your view on natural justice...

Span said...

How about this then?

liver said...

I hope you see Jack that you quite clearly answered your own question even if you didnt exactly spell it out.

Where do I find I lass attracted to me despite my reading material or Pratchett bless it, because of my reading material?

You just need to lower your standards to a lass who not only reads Harry Potter but drags her boyfriend who is only in he city for 1 day along to the movie.

HA HA! (next time your down here I'm going to use my evil feminine wiles to get you to read them. All seven)

Mrs Smith said...

Yo. Don't dis Jilly Cooper. She rocks da house.