Monday, February 9, 2009

Ack! I'm a book snob!

This month, our book group is reading a book called Can You Keep a Secret? Yes, it's a book title that ends in a question mark. It's by someone called Sophia Kinsella. I suspect there are two kinds of people in this world: those of us who say "who the heck is Sophia Kinsella", and those of you who look at us like we have two heads and say "Shopaholic, DUH!" Oh. I think I've heard of that before.

I missed the last book group, so I didn't get to vote on the book we'd read, but I guess it was a somewhat contested choice. Personally, I like book group because it introduces me to books I otherwise wouldn't read, and this book CERTAINLY fits the bill. I can assure you, I would never have picked this up :) So I'm kind of glad this was the choice. At the very least, I now know there's a book called Shopaholic which is apparently kind of well-known.

My problem, however, is that I guess this book is popular. I've had it on request at the library for the past three weeks, and it still hasn't come in. Book group is only a week away, and I still didn't have the book! Kind of snuck up on me!

Gio is always awesome about being willing to loan me book group books, and I bet she would have loaned me this one, too. But, it's already getting really close to book group, and I was right next to the book store. So I figured I'd just go in and buy it. It's been about a month since I've bought any books, so I didn't feel too guilty about the expense.

I went in, and couldn't figure out what section to look in. "Literature" didn't occur to me! But at least according to Borders book store, Can You Keep A Secret? is an example of literature, so once I was directed to the proper section, I picked it up.

And something weird happened: I got SUPER embarrassed. It was embarrassing to have to ask where to find this book. It was embarrassing to walk through the store with it. It was embarrassing to pay for it. I felt like explaining to everyone I saw that it was a book group choice...I wouldn't really have picked it.

This was ridiculous. First of all, I regularly read total crap. I post a record of the garbage I read on the side bar. I obviously have no shame! I've gone into this same Borders and bought Laurell K. Hamilton books, which not only are ridiculous and badly written, but also have extremely embarrassing covers featuring scantily clad women. Now *that* is something to be embarrassed about, yet I do it without batting an eye. Second, I have plenty of friends who read chick lit. I have no problem with their reading selections, and don't judge them for it any more than I'd like to be judged for my geeky addiction to sci-fi and fantasy.

So what's wrong with me? How did I get to be a total book snob? My only slight consolation is that I managed to keep my crazy in check enough that I didn't actually explain to strangers that I wouldn't normally read this book.

Have you ever bought a book that embarrassed you to be seen with it?


How much you bet I read this book and totally love it? It would serve me right. Maybe in the future I can read a whole slew of books with odd punctuation. Got any book suggestions for me where the title ends in an exclamation point? I LOVE exclamation points!!!!!!!!


Random unrelated thought: My food aversions have now expanded to include everything. Except coffee ice cream. So at least I have that...


Anonymous said...

This really cracked me up! And thanks for helping me learn something new - I hadn't known the author of Shopaholic either, tho I have seen it everywhere lately.

My bookclub read "Angry Housewives Eating Bonbons" and I was embarassed to get that one from the library! I also read one of the Rachel Morgan vampire series on an airplane and I tried to hide the cover so no one could see what I was reading. :-) Great books but they just look so trashy.

Thanks for giving me a good laugh. Hope that your morning sickness/ food aversions will be over soon. When I was pregnant, the thought/smell of coffee or eggs were both horrid to me and I had to ask co-workers if we they could not drink coffee or eat eggs when I was around.


LauraC said...

Definite book snob here too. And yes, I have felt embarrassed by some of my book choices. And I am going to be completely embarrassed to admit I have read ALL of Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic books. And I know I am a book snob bc I have to justify why I read them.

I like to read great literary books but I can't read them back to back. For example, right now I am reading a TC Boyle anthology of short stories and they are heavy. They are gorgeously written and amazing, but heavy. So after I read a heavy book, I like to read a light book to clear my brain before I head into another book.

Same thing with non-fiction. I can't read two non-fiction books back to back. Or the same author back to back. I need something mindless and short to clear the air. I can knock out a kinsella-style book in 1-2 nights and get back to the stuff I love.

LauraC said...

(The one thing I question is why read this book for book club. There is NOTHING to discuss!)

What A Card said...

Laura! I love TC Boyle! And I especially love his short fiction...he's one of the best writers of short fiction in my opinion, and I love short stories. Are you reading Stories now? It's a collection of many of his other collections...AWESOME! I like his full length novels quite a bit as well.

Dana, you're right, I guess the Rachel Morgan books are embarrassing. See, I'll buy those with reckless abandon, but I find myself wishing Can You Keep a Secret was wrapped in black plastic, a la porn.

Nancy said...

OH man, I'm laughing so hard. I think the last time I was embarrassed to buy/read a book was in high school. The title was Virgins - super uncool in HS ;) What did I do? I covered the damn thing with a paper bag - text-book style. (I think it's still sitting on a shelf at my Dad's house with the "cover" on it...)

To be honest, I'm not even sure of the last book I actually bought in a store ... Amazon has saved me much embarrassment and shame - girly books galore right to your doorstep in a matter of days! :D

Luckygirl said...

I go through books like crazy, so I read everything, including all the Shopaholic books (the first three were great - the last two were lame) and Can You Keep a Secret? and all of Kinsella's other books. Can You Keep a Secret is not as good as Shopaholic, but it's cute and a fun read. But I'm with Laura - odd that they chose it for book club. In the last book club I was in, we read "A Child's Book of True Crime" which is really good in the beginning, kinda slow in the middle and just stupid in the end. I checked it out of the library with self checkout, but my friend bought it at the bookstore and based on the title, the clerk gave her crap about it... Have you read Girl with a Pearl Earring? SO GOOD!

Mary Ellen said...

I just finished Persepolis for one of my book clubs -- it was fantastic. And it's also not something I would ever have picked up, mostly because it looks like a comic strip. (Speaking of snobs...) But, you know, these days they're called "graphic novels"...

jungletwins said...

Too funny! I know nothing about the shopaholic books either. I have definitely been embarrassed to carry certain books in public. For example, last year someone gave me "Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex" by Mary Roach for my birthday. I think Roach is a hilarious writer, but I am totally getting a book cover for that sucker if I ever decide to read it at the beach!

LauraC said...

I think you mentioned loving TC Boyle at one point which is why I was super freak (TM) and gushed about how in luv I was with your book lists. I'm actually reading The Human Fly and Other Stories. I had never heard of it and it popped up on a recommendation list. Surprise! It was available on PaperBackSwap.

I just went to Amazon to check out if I missed anything else and he has a new novel out TOMORROW!!! Gotz 2 get on the library waiting list.

(Hey just got back from watching Revolutionary Road and I was telling my friend about Music for Torching by A M Homes. Have you ever read anything she's written? Brilliant. One of my fave all-time stories is from her collection Safety of Objects. Full text here:

Threeundertwo said...

Here's my unsolicited advice; next time you need a chick lit book, check out the library bookstore (if they have one) or your local thrift store. Mine usually has multiple copies of this sort of stuff, for $1 each.

I like to alternate great reads with some junk here and there, and I don't feel guilty when I get them at Goodwill.

Giovanna Diaries said...

I could have loaned it to you silly! Next time ask!!!!! Could have saved you some embarrassment but then we would have missed out on this funny post.
FYI1: I voted for the other book (Innocent Traitor) but we got kaiboshed by J.
FYI2: I am totally embarrassed reading this on the train. But what can you do? I just make sure I don't lift up the book so you can't see the cover.
FYI3: This book is not meant to be discussed per say. Besides, how often do we really discuss our books the way it's meant to be discussed? It's usually, Did you like it? I enjoyed the writing style etc. Sometmes we go a bit deeper...but lately talking about our lives, kids, SYTYCD or AI etc gets in the way. ;) Not that I'm complaining. This was on my selection list so I must be super shallow :) and therefore would not contribute much to discussion anyways. I better get started on my questions....
FYI3: I'm enjoying it so far...but I always kinda liked chicklit.
FYI4: Can't wait to see you and your belly Monday!

Wolf said...

i haven't read the shopaholic books...although, i think i did read a confessions of something book, although i can't for the life of me remember which one...shows how much of an impact it made on me right?

i've never been embarrassed to buy a book, really. mostly i choose books based on the cover, and it hasn't ever disappointed me. it's when i buy what others recommend that i tend to get disappointed...probably because they don't understand my taste (i read for fun, not to challenge my way of thinking, reading is an escape from the work i do).

next time you should buy online. then you won't feel silly :)

p.s. thanks for the tips for subbing! i wish they would have given me some tips rather then just throwing me in there! i didn't even know if there was a dress code!