Book Slut

Filed under all of my friends are prettier than i am, fun times on the subway, readin' and writin'

I feel like a different and better person when I have reading material in public, especially hardcover books. Back when I worked for Barnes & Noble and had all the hardcovers I could ever need and want at my disposal, I ripped through everything the day it was released, wanting to look all-knowing in front of customers. “Oh, the new Junot Diaz? I mean, it’s interesting, but I don’t get the hype,” I’d say as I led them instead to the Miranda July collection of short stories. “No, no, don’t get that Augusten Burroughs,” I’d command, adding, “You really need to read Running with Scissorsfirst if you want to enjoy Dry, and you can skip Sellovision altogether.” Once I quit there, though, I realized that I couldn’t afford to buy the hardcovers I was used to getting for free, and I’m not the kind of girl to own paperbacks.

I’ve been making due with library books for months now, but it’s not the same. I know that people see the little Dewey Decimal number on the spine and think less of me; the New York Public Library, after all, is only for doctoral candidate research and minorities who want to look at porn but can’t afford to have the Internet in their own homes (unlike the Columbus Metropolitan Library, where I used to work in Ohio, which provides what its users want and not what looks most pretentious on paper and is a beacon for the community, so ha). So thank god for my extremely generous co-worker Adam, who without any urging on my part, purchased the new David Sedaris book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, for me out of the goodness of his heart a couple of weeks ago.

Now when I’m on the train, I feel people looking at me differently. Not only are they thinking, Look at that girl with her expensive hardcover,” they’re also thinking, Oh, David Sedaris has a new book? My, aren’t I behind the times. The only problem is that I find myself reading this book sooooo slowly, just to make it last longer. I read the same paragraphs over and over to really suck all the worth out of them and take every chance to close the book after only reading a page or two. My subway stop is five stations away, so I’d better just, uh, put this back in my bag and, uh, concentrate on where I’m going, I’ll tell myself.

I’ve been wondering what I’ll do when the pages inevitably run out. Sure, I can reread it a couple of times without anyone noticing, but then what? Submit to paperbacks just to be able to hide them inside the Sedaris? Take to stealing dust jackets of even newer, more expensive books to slap on $5.98 copies of leftover bargain bin chick lit? Actually reading my copy of the 688-page I Am Charlotte Simmons like Adam’s been pushing me to just because I know it’ll take me two years to finish it?

LIFE IS NOT WORTH LIVING IF I CAN’T HOLD A BOOK FACE-OUT AGAINST MY CHEST FAUX-ABSENTMINDEDLY AND ALLOW PEOPLE TO ADMIRE ME.

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4 Comments

  1. Tracey says:

    I’ve been wondering what I’ll do when the pages inevitably run out.

    Go back to watching Lost on your i-pod so that you’ll be all caught up for Season 5? I seriously don’t know how I’ll be able to not talk to you about it for much longer.

    • Thank you so much, as always, for your pity comment. I also appreciate “i-pod”, which makes you look like an aging grandmother trying to pretend that she’s “with it”.

      I have to tell you about the DRAMA surrounding my gym membership and the reason I may NEVER WATCH “LOST” AGAIN.

  2. diana says:

    just finished when you are engulfed in flames and sad that it is over. i will be seeing him do a reading in oct though – so i can get a fix then. are you a shelfari member? i was hooked on it for a while..shelfari.com.

    • I hate to say it, but I think the flap is the best part of his new book. I mean, it’s better than everything else being written just because it’s Sedaris, but it’s definitely my least-favourite of his. Is it wrong of me to say that? Did you think it was just as good as his others?

      I think shelfari would be too depressing for me. All of my books are still sitting in boxes at home in Ohio because moving them from apartment to apartment out here seems like such a hassle, and my shelfari shelves would probably be just as empty, and then everyone would know that I’m a Philistine.