Thursday, November 5, 2009

In which Greg appears to be a mugger, cheers the youth of America, and reads some books.

First of all, a big thanks to anyone and everyone who came out for Barbara Ehrenreich! It was a great event. That being said, I have to remember to wear a Boswell Book Company shirt to these things. Daniel was clever enough to bring one along, a tactic I suspect I will imitate. Those who know me personally or have spoken with me in the store know that I'm fairly innocuous, but to see me approaching in a dark parking lot wearing a hoodie, with my hands stuffed in my pockets (it was cold, people) and no identification as a staff member... well, let's just say I had a few event-goers shy away from me. I suspect I looked like a mugger. Oh well, live and learn I suppose.

A few days ago, a teen girl came into the store and brought a copy of Wuthering Heights to the checkout counter. Wuthering Heights is my favorite book of all time - a fact most people wouldn't guess from my staff rec shelf. Upon commenting on how great of a book it is, she responded with: "Yeah, I kept hearing things about it, and wanted to check it out."

This is an offhand comment you expect to hear associated with Twilight or The Hunger Games or something more teen-friendly and popular. It was exceptionally refreshing to hear a younger individual express interest in classics. Don't fret if you enjoy Twilight, though. I won't hold it against you. And I rather enjoyed The Hunger Games myself.

It's been awhile, so here's the reading update. I've read a fair amount of books lately, although nothing that has floored me quite like The Magicians. I recently finished Genesis by Bernard Beckett, which is an interesting concoction of dystopian science fiction and philosophy. While it was well-written and engaging, I must admit I am not 100% sure I understood it fully. Someone else read it and explain it to me!

I also decided to read a throwback and picked up The Long Walk by Stephen King, written under his Richard Bachman pseudonym. While it may not be the most sophisticated thing I've ever read, it was quite good. It's what I like to call a cheeseburger read - you don't really need it, and it's not particularly good for you, but it's quite tasty.

I'm also about to tackle Danielewski's House of Leaves, as per recommendation from a friend of mine. I'm always intrigued when a writer does something different with form, and House of Leaves is a prime example. The text of the book changes position on the page depending on the events unfolding in the book - it's really quite remarkable to page through. Expect another blog post in the future about books with crazy form. I do love it so.

Much love and happy reading!


  1. Reading House of Leaves is a life changing event. Everyone I know who has read it has had some very weird experiences during the process. One example- when I got to the part where the lights all go out, at that exact moment my house lost all power. A friend with a very unusual name, found her name in the book. Another friend kept dreaming of the book every night until she finished it.......Just saying.

  2. That's mighty peculiar. I'm now looking forward to reading it even more! Thanks for the heads up, though... I'll keep a flashlight nearby when I start.

  3. Greg, I hate to bust your happy thoughts bubble about the teens of today, but it's quite possible that your teen customer came in searching for Wuthering Heights exactly BECAUSE of Twilight, et al. Though I have not made my way through the whole series, I understand that Bella and Edward share a love for Wuthering Heights. And that love is so well-known that a certain major publisher has actually brought out a new edition of W.H. with a cover explicitly designed to capture the attention of Twilight fans everywhere. You can see the cover here:

  4. John, I was aware, actually. I was just hoping nobody else would. :(

    I'm not complaining, though. If Twilight drives the younger generation to read classic literature, I'd be a fool to complain about it.

    I'm not a big fan of the "Bella & Edward's Favorite Book!" stamp, though. That seems a bit much.

  5. I agree - redesigning the cover to appeal would have been enough, you'd think, but apparently not...