Monday, March 31, 2008

So what DO your books say about you?

This Jezebel post pointed out this NYTimes article and then there was Rana's post on books, so what is a girl to do when the universe is begging her to answer what appears to be THE question of the day: what does your taste in books say about you?

I decided to let Google take a shot at it first. I found links to what your music says about you (I've got a little Cusack to help me out with that one), what your car says about you, what your checkbook says about you (checkbooks, really? that you're old and antiquated?), what your office says about you, what your spelling, mutual fund, blog, drink, and even your ringtone says about you but book/s? Nada. As Google failed me, not for the first time, I decided to tackle the issue myself.

Let's tackle a few top 10 books, shall we? (I'm picking and choosing my top 10 books because I haven't read very many of them. I have to talk about what I know, right?)

According to the NYTimes Modern Library:

#1: Ulysses - Um, I've never read this book but I'm guessing the person who has this on their bookshelf was an English major, which probably means the bookshelf in question came from IKEA. So I'm guessing Ulysses = poor.

#2: The Great Gatsby - This one could be left over from high school so it doesn't necessarily have the same meaning as #1, although it could. I'm guessing a person who identifies with the Great Gatsby might also identify with a $30k Millionaire, no? (Not the poor part but the used-and-abused-by-society-so-I've-got-to-get-mine part.) Perhaps Fortunate Son by CCR is their favorite song?

#3: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - paging Rory Gilmore! In my own version of pop culture know-how I've only heard this book referenced once in a Gilmore Girls episode (fyi - it was the one where Rory had an affair with her married ex-bf and then left town to "summer" with her grandmother in Europe). Again, I haven't read this book but I'm guessing anyone who has this book on their bookshelf can probably do a NYTimes crossword puzzle. In ink. I try to avoid people that are obviously that much smarter than me. I can handle a good TVGuide crossword puzzle though. How 'bout them apples?

#4: Lolita - oh my. This person is either a Russian lit enthusiast, which I can totally get behind because they must be the coolest, hippest people around (ahem), or they're a pervert. Either way is probably okay.

skipping a few...

#10: The Grapes of Wrath - run away! You've quite possibly met the most boring individual on the face of the planet. Hurry and get away while you still can! Oh and to all you Steinbeck fans out there? Suck it. You're boring too.

#13: 1984 - probably just a smart, sci-fi/technology geek. Can't go wrong with a person who will watch a midnight showing of Bladerunner or The Princess Bride with you, right?

#15: To the Lighthouse - seriously? Do people actually read Virginia Woolf anymore? Surely with all the anti-depressants and therapists out there we don't actually need to wallow in another woman's depressions do we? I mean, unless she's Sylvia Plath.

I'm skipping waay down to

#45: The Sun Also Rises - because I have a serious beef with Hemingway readers. Why do you hate women so? Is it the lack of a functioning penis? Too much sun? Either way, people who lay a claim to Hemingway are self-righteous misogynists, guaranteed - even the women. There's no crime greater than girl-on-girl crime, so sayeth Mean Girls. Be prepared to fight your way, passive-agressively of course, out of that den of inequities.

#58 & #69: The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth, respectively - love these people. A reverence for all things Edith Wharton is a mark of a highly intelligent, witty, and humerous person. Not to mention fabulously beautiful, I'm sure. An Austenian attention to the detail of class warfare meets the gross tragedy of a Russian novel. There can never be anything greater. Therefore the person who carries an extensive Wharton library should be your best friend. Just saying.

#76: The Prime of Miss Jean Brode - most likely this person was a drama nerd in high school. They might still be one. A "leave the drama for your mama" t-shirt or sign anywhere in the vicinity of their living quarters will confirm your worst suspicions - once a drama queen, always a drama queen.

I could go on (and I seriously question this so-called "best of" list) but I won't. Any thoughts? Suggestions? Books to add to the list?


RanaElizabeth said...

So, ahem. I would like to address the comment you made for #4, Lolita. I actually just recently purchased this book. Yes, I wanted to know what all the pervert-y fuss was about. And Yes, I am interested in Russian Lit, last summer's reading was Crime and Pun and the Brothers K.

RanaElizabeth said...

I would also like to address the comment above from Mister Aluguel. But I won't.

Tina said...

Oh well - he doesn't get the privilege of staying for posterity. Too bad for him.

As to Lolita, Crime & Pun is my favorite novel evah, so you have my full and complete support. I think perverts are fun (you know, the good kind).

lauren said...

ew, I love Hemmingway. :P

I don't think I know anyone that has actually read Ulysses. And I'm not sure that I want to.