Archive for March 3rd, 2011


Betraying my roots…

Something odd has been happening to my reading choices lately. Looking back at the books I’ve read this year (not counting graphic novels or stage plays) I’ve noticed a very strange trend. The prose books I’ve read this year, in order…

  1. Assholes Finish First by Tucker Max
  2. Stupid American History by Leland Gregory
  3. Feed by Mira Grant
  4. The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer
  5. The Customer is Always Wrong edited by Jeff Martin
  6. The Onion Presents the Finest Reporting on Literature, Media, and Other Dying Artforms
  7. The Ten-Cent Plague by David Hajdu
  8. The Book of Vice by Peter Sagel
  9. The War For Late Night by Bill Parker
  10. American on Purpose by Craig Ferguson

Do you guys notice anything unusual about this list?

Only two novels: Feed and The Inner Circle (both of which were very good, by the way).

This is unheard of for me. Heck, a couple of years ago I went on a bit of a tangent about how most nonfiction doesn’t really hold any appeal for me. But this particular trend is kind of shocking to me. It was even more shocking after I finished American on Purpose and tried to pick up a novel to start reading. I… I couldn’t get into it. Then I tried again. And again. Still nothing.

Interestingly enough, just about all of those eight nonfiction books I’ve listed are either humor, a book about another art form like books or television, or some combination thereof. So I guess my thoughts lately have been more about the function and craft of story and the lives of storytellers than about stories themselves. (Heck, I’m going to be on a plane to Las Vegas this weekend and when I was thinking of what to bring to read one of the most appealing options on my plate is a biography of Walt Disney, which I’ll probably pass on simply because it’s a ginormous book that would be cumbersome on the plane). I’m sure a qualified therapist could explain this to me.

On the other hand, I’m not just blindly reading any nonfiction book that falls into this category either. I tried a book about horror movies, but by the end of the first chapter I put it aside, not liking the writing style or the format. This, incidentally, is where getting a Kindle pays for itself — free sample chapters have saved me from wasting money on more than a few books that just didn’t do it for me that I would have felt compelled to finish had I paid for the paperback.

My reading tastes have always been cyclical, of course. I’ve gone through phases where I was particularly into one particular writer or genre or universe. But this is the first time I can think of that I’ve ever really drifted away from fiction as a whole to such a large degree. I find it interesting. Not alarming. Just interesting.

I’m sure I’ll keep you posted.

March 2011

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