Some Thoughts on Books.

Posted on May 13, 2011




The problem with bookshops is that nobody in them is the least bit impressed that you are buying a book. In this day and age, the purchase of literature should prompt onlookers to drop what they are doing and spontaneously applaud. At the very least, a small interview in the local paper should ensue. Questions should be asked, such as “what did you like so much about the cover”, and “have you decided which shelf you’re going to put it on”. You would answer their many fawning questions with a wry enigmatic smile, in the full knowledge that they were the wrong questions. For you would have the fullest intention of one day actually reading the book. Just as soon as you finished the other one you bought that time when you were on holiday. You wouldn’t of course be seeking to boast about what was now a literary collection, but you would hope to be quietly giving off the air of somebody who certainly knows their way around a book.

You could be forgiven for thinking that we were in the midst of a literary revival. For many, the eBook has replaced the magazine as a thing to hold on trains and buses. This is largely because it has a large reflective surface. These people do not turn the devices on, but rather hold them up to look at their own faces. For many this represents company, and is a comforting sight, although some will tend to peck at the image in confusion, thinking that they are seeing a rival.

When you have read a book, you can justifiably expect to be invited to many dinner parties to discuss what lay within. Try to have a rough estimate of the number of pages and if possible even words at the ready, as these are the things people will ask you about first. As a rule of thumb, the bigger these numbers are, the better the book you have read. Your astonished hosts will probably suggest that your eyes and/or hands must be very tired. Shrug this off for extra bravery points.

Once you have the accomplished aura of someone who has read a book, you can easily pretend to have read several more. One good trick is to simply claim to have read your “paper back” before in a “hard back” format. The content of these is almost identical, so you can instantly double your total. Another option is to watch a film. Many of these are also available as books, and are probably pretty similar. Something to watch out for here, however, is the lack of page and word counts associated with a film. Try taking the number of minutes the film seemed to last and touting that as the number of pages in the book you are claiming to have read. In case you are confronted with a question as to the author of your putative book, good names to toy with are Amis or Self. Nobody will dare challenge you for the forename, for fear of appearing gauche. If somebody at your dinner party says they have seen the film, don’t panic, there is still a way out here; simply assert that the book is better than the film. That should be enough to satisfy most of your fellow diners, who will simply nod in appreciation, but if you are pushed further you should suggest that they missed the best bits of the book out in the film. The real kicker in this strategy lies in the fact that you need, nay must say nothing more, other than to dismiss further inquiries with a sweeping statement that they really need to read it for themselves, and that to say more would be to spoil it. The chances are very good that your fellow diners will never seek out that 2012 novel.




Posted in: Guides, Humour