Wednesday 8 October 2008

Curious/Creepy: a non-musical fall mash-up

Fall is here which means Toronto is sodden and angry, and today I've been forced to use public transit instead of ride my bike. You know what that means: I've been looking over people's shoulders again! I think I may be close to perfecting the low creepiness to high effectiveness ratio; some tweaking may still be required, however.

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. I don't know who Jodi Picoult is but she (I assume it's a she - do people name their boy-children Jodi anymore?) sure is popular these days. I see her stuff pretty much everywhere but no one I know seems to read her. Or they're keeping it secret...maybe because my theory below is correct, hmmm?

I'm guessing from the cover of Nineteen Minutes that this is a self-help/relationship book addressing the issue of what the kidz might call "two-minute brothers". If I'm right, I'm then going to further guess that this manual provides instructions on how to get as much pleasure as possible out of the 19 minutes of wiggy allotted to these poor unfortunates by their cruel and selfish god. Hey, there's always hand-holding - aaawwwww!

Joking aside, what a horribly personal thing to be reading on the subway!!

The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs. I've heard of this book and admire the spirit of scientific inquiry Jacobs purportedly brings to his experiment. I'm sure, though, that it can't be that hard to spend a whole year not killing people or coveting neighbours' wives.

Apparently, though, the Bible has a few more commandments than the Big Ten espoused by Charleston "The Cha Cha" Heston on the fake mountain on the movie set. I'm tempted to keep an eye out for this one, if only because I don't think my life is complicated enough yet.

The reader of this book was on a bus going south on Keele. She had an amazing 70s-style hipster afro, which I greatly admired (and yes, maybe I coveted it a little) and was so involved in her book I think she forget to get off the bus when we arrived at Keele Station. Now that's my kind of reader!

The Intention Experiment: Using Your Thoughts to Change Your Life and the World by Lynne McTaggart. So, I didn't see this one on transit, to be honest, but at the location to which I had to take today's first transit ride: a coffee shop, where I sat with my surprisingly good work novel Pamela.

The reader of this future Booker-winning tome was drinking the world's largest coffee; it was approaching 12 feet tall. Really. That's all true - except for what I just said.

What is true is what her giant coffee reminded me of: when I had the extreme misfortune, as a teenager, to work at Tim Hortons one of the regular customers used to come in and ask for an extra-large six and six - twice within 15 minutes, before he went to work. For those of you who drink medium double-doubles, try to imagine what a tooth-eroding candy treat an extra-large six and six means!! For non-Timmy fans, this is a coffee that's about 1 litre, of which approximately 1/3-1/2 is a heart-stopping-and-starting-again combination of heavy cream and sugar.

But about the book. I may be wrong, but hasn't this been written already but under a different name? Also, I wonder about its effectiveness, for the reader thereof gave up on it after about 15 minutes to do her puzzle. And drink another ginourmous coffee.

Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self by Judith Anodea. I caught sight of this one on my last subway trip of the day. The reader was holding the book as though it were a fragile and priceless artifact she was worried she was sullying by touching; I honestly don't know if her obvious physical discomfort suggests either reverence or revulsion for the subject matter.

When I saw Eastern Body, Western Mind on the subway, I didn't see the subtitle which gives a clearer sense of what this book's about. Without it, I had all kinds of crazy (but, I suspect, more interesting than the book's reality would allow for) imaginings. My favourite of said crazy imaginings was a Broadway adaption of this book which would be called Bananas: the Musical! and would star the Dalai Lama doing a lot of jazz hands (in white gloves of course).

Yes, yes, I know that's mean. I didn't claim my idea was right; I just subtly implied (with the help of some subliminal messaging) that it was funny.


Anonymous said...

Re: The Year of Living Biblically, it's true: cotton-polyester blends are technically sinful. Deuteronomy contains some absolutely whacked-out rules.

Bookphilia said...

Polyester all by itself should be considered sinful!

I saw The Year of Living Biblically in the store today and almost bought it; that I'm already beggared is the only thing that kept me from doing so.

jAe said...

also about The Year of Living Biblically: i heard the author speak on NPR a year ago. he was so funny (talking about how he wasn't allowed to sit anywhere a menstruating woman had sat, so his wife - who hated the whole experiment - would sit on everything in the house when she had her period. eventually he just took to carrying a little chair around with him everywhere), i knew i had to get it. and i did, but i gave it to my mum, and she hasn't loaned it to me yet.

Anonymous said...

19 Minutes is about a school shooting. I'm not sure what the hand holding on the cover is all about.

Bookphilia said...

Oh, damn. The Insensitivity Award of the year goes to - me! Especially, because this revelation is making me laugh.

raych said...

I had to read 19 Minutes at home because I was too embarassed to be seen in public with that cover. All of her covers are similarly mortifying.

J Picoult makes me want to stab things, because she's very prolific and very...brave? Is that what I mean? She tackles huge topics anyways (like school shootings, or secret Amish pregnancies, or genetically engineering a daughter to serve as a blood-and-tissue bank for your OTHER daughter, who has leukemia) but then she thinks that her material will stand on the basis of her topic alone, and writes shite. Also, there is always a love story shoehorned in unnecessarily.

I feel like if I tell you how much I loved Living Biblically you'll go in with super-high expectations. So I wont.

Yes I will. I loved it. Read it.