I have this thing about people who don’t read, and by “thing” I mean “seething animosity.” It’s intellectually vain and, one could claim, even a little classist,* but for me, dealing with people who read is a hell of a lot easier than dealing with people who don’t. Choosing to not read is like choosing to remain ignorant of things like spelling, grammar, dialogue, and intelligent expression. (This is excepting anyone with a genuine learning disability; I have dyslexic friends who are actually very smart, but it’s because they actually try at reading things that interest them and therefore make more of an effort than some run-of-the-mill dumbass who says “I’m not really a reader” and calls it a day.) It’s like choosing to ignore a millennia of storytelling tradition and cultural touchstones. It’s stupid, is what it is, and stupidity makes me crazy. I can accept far more things than I understand, but I can neither accept nor understand stupid. It’s just beyond me.
There’s just no legitimate reason not to read. What, it’s going to open your mind and broaden your perception and these are bad things? Oh no. How terrible it would be if you knew “your” from “you’re” and valued creativity. Not reading isn’t like not drinking or not paratrooping or not indulging a curiosity of running out naked into traffic and trying to make sex with moving cars. Not doing any of these things makes sense, at least for some people. But not reading? What the fuck’s wrong with you, you illiterate freak?
You don’t even have to do it the hard way. A person who doesn’t read is like a person who brags about knowing nothing about computers. You don’t have to know LINUX or anything super nerdy like that, but you really should be comfortable with writing an e-mail (punctuation and capital letters, but not all capital letters, NOT ALL CAPITAL LETTERS). By that same token, no matter what anyone says, Watership Down is boring as hell. So don’t read it. Go find something else with chapters, instead.
In the interest of reading, I’ve responded to a survey from Courtney (weeks late, but now is better than never, I suppose). She wanted everyone to take 15 minutes to list the 15 books that made a lasting impression on them. Books that make sense, both when you first read them and then read them again, sometimes years later, and sometimes, like in my case, over and over again until they are held together with masking tape and love.
“Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. First 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.”
1. Slaughter-House Five – Kurt Vonnegut
2. Maniac Magee – Jerry Spinelli
3. Lamb — Christopher Moore
4. Forced Entries – Jim Carroll
5. Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
6. Fragile Things – Neil Gaiman
7. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret – Judy Blume
8. The Witches – Roald Dahl
9. The Giving Tree – Shel Silverstein
10. Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain
11. The Metamorphoses – Ovid
12. Skipping Towards Gomorrah – Dan Savage
13. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
14. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
15. A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson
*Do you know how expensive a book addiction can be? And I mean good books, not the ones you get for $6 in an airport, although, admittedly, I’ve purchased $6 airport books before and have no complaints about the way they both repelled the talkative, smelly old lady next to me or killed time during my nearly standstill layover in Denver. Stephen King, that one was for you.