You’d Really Like…

by Chris de Serres

A few years ago a friend of mine encouraged me to join a Book Club.  You get to meet up with people just like you and discuss and analyze great literature.  You can draw endless ideas based on the perspective of others.  Explore how passages and verse made each of us feel.  Then I asked her what they were reading.  Then I knew I would never join.

Books are too personal to me.  People offer suggestions all the time, but I usually hate their suggestions.  All too often I hunt down the book or, even worse, they let me borrow the book.  So now there is some obligation to make ‘an effort.’ So I wait about a month, then I give it back.

“Yeah, that was a great one!”

“Then i’d think you’d like this one, go ahead, take it!”

Ugh.

I don’t think i’m an elitist.  I would often think that maybe there’s something wrong with me because I couldn’t find any value in the books people suggest.

I even tried Goodreads, just to see what all my friends were reading.  Every so often i’d get a message from a friend…”I was reading this and I thought of you.”  Honestly, please don’t.

You may think that i’m pretty narrow in my tastes.  But i’m pretty well read.  I’ve read alot of the classics and I loved some of them.  Yet, I realize how little my friends know about what I obsess about.  My obsessions guide my reading habits.  I’m pretty ruthless too.  It is sheer torture to even think about reading a book that I have no interest in.  That’s what we did in high school and college.  Yes, I know James Joyce is probably the greatest novelist ever.  But I hate his stuff.  I have no interest in figuring out what makes him brilliant.  You might as well make me read the Bible, which many people tried.

But it’s okay to be a selfish reader.  It’s okay to be ruthless.  I know what strikes me.  I haven’t figured almost everything else about my life out yet…but this is the one thing I know.

Maybe reading is just a personal thing.  I want my toys and you play with your toys over there.  No, I don’t want your green wooden block.  Thanks for asking.

I would tell myself I just haven’t found the right group of writers to hang with.  Those with my sensibilities and sense of humor.  Those who think like I do and feel what I do.  I read alot of their books, but they don’t live in Seattle and don’t have time to talk to me.  Or they are dead.

I do have one trusted collaborator in my life.  She’s 6-years-old and her bedtime is 9:30pm on weekdays.  But i’m almost certain she is a literary carbon-copy of myself.  So that makes me sound even more narcissistic.   Great.

Having said that, I recently picked up a Raymond Carver book.  You should really look into the guy.  Really.

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