January 5th, 2012

Listomania: Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda Books

We’ve quoted them. We’ve lied about reading them. We’ve even purchased them and put them in plain sight to make us look literate. But this week’s Listomania is about coming clean and righting wrongs- or at least admitting to them. These are the books we never quite got to, and despite our flippant commentary on each…we’ll probably regret having never read.

Bible/Koran/Dianetics (Jesus/ Muhammad/ Hubbard)

Remember that kid in Sunday school that used to brag about having read the ‘whole Bible’? Where are they now? I’ll tell you where- selling the crack, turning tricks for mayonnaise sandwiches or quarterbacking the Denver Broncos! On second thought, those really aren’t bad odds, so maybe we should get around to snuggling up with a Good Book.

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A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)

“Hulloh gubnah- top o’ the mornin’! Moit oy hab some more?” Tell you what, we’ll ask the people who love throwing on a ridiculous Cockney accent and saying stuff like this to wish in one of our hands and fill the other with a detailed synopsis of Charles Dickens finer works. We’ll see which one fills up first. How’s that for an Oliver Twist?

Movie Tome (Various)

As soon as we pick up on a book that we would like to read, a producer comes out with an explosion-filled version complete with 3-D sex scene and wicked sound track featuring TI and Hoobastank. Like the girl/guy we had a crush on in high school, but then heard rumor that they had been ‘round the block a few too many times, all we can do is stare wistfully at the horizon and walk away with a tear in our eyes and wonder what might have been. Michael Bay and the back seats of Camaro convertibles ruin dreams.

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Gravity’s Rainbow (Pynchon)

A candidate for a Nobel Prize at one point, here’s what Wikipedia says:

Gravity’s Rainbow is transgressive, as it questions and inverts social standards of deviance and disgust and transgresses boundaries of Western culture and reason. Frequently digressive, the novel subverts many of the traditional elements of plot and character development, and traverses detailed, specialist knowledge drawn from a wide range of disciplines.

When a publically editable website puts you on blast like that, we’ll stick with Curious George and a stack of chewed-on crayons, thank you very much.

Hondo Jr. Smoker BBQ Pit Construction Manual (The Chinese?)

WTF. We just spent three hours putting this thing together with nothing but a hammer and a pair of gardening gloves. Our fingers and brains are hemorrhaging, and now we’re left with three extra screws, a lock-nut and this pipe-looking thing that may or may not be some kind of flume. Why do we do this to ourselves?

The Iliad (Homer)

There’s only one Homer we’ve ever really listened to, and he rarely utters a multi-syllabic word and appears to have extreme male pattern baldness and acute jaundice. Your English teacher got angry with you for ruining page 543 with coma-drool, but who was Mrs. Parker to judge when she was scrambling through the Spark Notes an hour before class?

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War and Peace (Tolstoy)

It’s the seventeenth longest book written in a Latin-based language. Critics laud Tolstoy’s ability to cinematically explore characters and events on the most intimate scale, while also portraying their significance to the whole. We could say the same thing about Bones. Probably won’t ever get to this one.

An Inconvenient Truth/ Pinheads and Patriots (Gore/O’Reilly)

This is what intelligent political discourse has come to in these United States. One is blatant fear mongering on the behalf of a political never-was. The other is a one-sided, pandering last gasp for attention by someone on the downhill slope of his career. Can you guess which is which? Us neither.

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This Side of Paradise/ A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (Fitzgerald/Twain)

This officially makes us bad U.S. citizens. They’re the two most iconic American authors of their respective centuries, but if it didn’t occur in West Egg, Long Island, or involve curing one’s warts with a dead cat, we didn’t read it. We’re sorry, ok? Guess it’s us that are members of the Lost Generation.

The Canterbury Tales (Chaucer)

Saying “Chaucer” when asked about your favorite authors is the great equalizer in a conversation between pseudo-scholars. Like a literary race card, it changes the subject quickly, because chances are the other guy hasn’t read Chaucer, and if he/she has, it was Canterbury Tales and they don’t know it well enough to grill you. Of course, if the other person happens to be an expert on 14th century Middle-English prose aimed subversively at papal establishment…good luck.

— Tea Jones

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