Everybody’s Doing It

25 Nov

If I’ve learned anything in these last seven weeks, it’s that burritos are not a good reading food. But also that choosing to read books simply, or least primarily, because of hype is–for the most part–worth it. I’m basing this on “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” and “The Devil in the White City,” both of which I wish in retrospect I had read when they were more pertinent water-cooler literary chatter. But there have been other examples in my personal reading history of books that lived up to their reputations: “Life of Pi,” “The Kite Runner” and “World War Z,” to name a haphazard few. Certainly there are exceptions–I remain underwhelmed by Elizabeth Kostova’s “The Historian” and have somehow not been able to get through “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay,” despite multiple attempts–but for the most part I tend to enjoy books that have for whatever reason gained widespread popularity. And I don’t care what you say, “The Da Vinci Code” was entertaining.

Keeping this in mind, I’ve decided to give it to the hype when it come to Stieg Larsson, so yes, this week I am finally reading “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” It helps that I’m spending the better part of the week in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, where the highlight of my stay will be a 20-minute drive to the nearby Sonic. Any book that promises to keep me engrossed, no matter what I may sacrifice in literary sophistication, is worth bringing home for Thanksgiving.

But regardless of circumstance, I also love a good crime story, and have every intention of someday being one of those old women who read only tattered library copies of mass-market paperbacks (as by the time I am retired, printed books will no doubt be used as kindling). In truth, it’s pure snobbery that keeps me from reading more crime novels right now. Snobbery and the fact that I try to avoid recurring-character stuff, as the neurotic in me then feels compelled to read the full series (just thinking about the Alex Cross books stresses me out). To this end, “Dragon Tattoo” is a safe bet: After submitting the manuscripts for the three books in the series, Larsson proceeded to die of a heart attack before he could see how famous the books would become.

Which brings me to my conclusion: Friends, should I ever do something that makes me famous but happen to die before I can reap the benefits of said fame, please take the proceeds of my success and set up some sort of foundation to encourage reading among children. Either that or build Kirapolis, a roller-coaster-centric amusement park named in my honor. I’ll let you decide.

One Response to “Everybody’s Doing It”

  1. typingelbow November 25, 2010 at 12:51 pm #


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