I just read (okay, glanced at then went off in a huff) a newspaper article offering to help the poor, benighted souls who just don’t know what to read without Oprah’s book club.
Now tell me, honestly—have you ever needed someone to tell you what to read? Are you at loose literary ends without some authority figure guiding you along the shelves at Borders or (how plebian!) the library?
I mean, really—how will they know the right thing to be reading now so that they’ll be able to talk to all the right people and appear informed and intelligent? How will they ever stay within the ranks of the well-read? Without guidance, they might wander into reading for—oh, who knows, pure enjoyment?
Because apparently, only nerds just read whatever strikes their fancy because we enjoy it, without regard to what we should be reading. We’re the ones who only minded reading assignments when we were in school if they got in the way of the reading we were doing on our own. And you know where that leads!
People with bookshelves! And books on them! In fact, usually more books than shelves! Rows and stacks and boxes of books—that they’ve read. Or that they will actually read. Not because they should, or because they need to, or because they were on a list. Because they want to read them. Just because. They might even enjoy them.
But will they have the right book to discuss at the right parties? Probably not. They may not care about the right parties. And if they go to parties, they’ll talk about—oh—anything! Any old book! Without embarrassment! Even if it’s something that has been out for 20 years and isn’t old enough to be a classic but hasn’t seen the NY Times Bestseller list in decades if it was ever there at all! In fact, if you get two or more of these nerds together in one place, they might start swapping books! Loaning them to each other! Encouraging these bad habits, and sometimes even writing down an author’s name so that they can go find more by him or her! (And they’ll probably go do a web search because they probably spend more time online that is Really Decent.)
It’s Just Not Right. Because however will you keep everybody thinking about the Right Things if you don’t make sure they’re all reading the same books at the same time if they must read at all?
(Can you tell that I am the one and only bookworm/nerd/geek in my entire family of origin? Including the huge extended clan? I’m SO thankful my daughter took after me!)