What happens when two thirtysomething siblings relive the summer reading programs of their youth in an all-out battle of the books? The race is on as they read by the rules and keep tally on their logs to see who will be the ultimate reader by Labor Day 2010.

July 13, 2010

Start Reading, Brendan!

The reading challenges have begun! I've already checked to make sure "The French Lieutenant's Woman" is available at the library and, instead of placing it on hold, am playing it cool in the hopes of finding it in the stacks tomorrow. I'm counting on my local readers not to rush the doors tomorrow morning to check out the only copy. (I think I'm safe. I'm sure the librarians there have my back.)

Brendan and I have actually discussed the reading challenge quite a bit (despite Verizon's insistence on dropping most of our calls). Strategically, of course it makes sense to give him something wordy; attack his weakness. I'm so comfortable with my lead, however, that I think the other obvious choice is appropriate: chick-lit.

So, Brendan, welcome to my world away from reality. Chick-lit is total escapism for me (the fact that I even use the term "chick" says it all). Honestly, I was once the most high-brow of high-brow readers. I didn't read for pleasure, I read to be better. Otherwise, what was the point? Then, I hit a bit of a rough patch in life and, somehow, bought my first fluff book. It was the perfect antidote for what I needed. Life was complicated enough, why not indulge once in a while?

I will be the first to admit that I'm more than a bit addicted to chick-lit. I'm annoyed that Meg Cabot hasn't written more "Heather Wells" mysteries. I've signed up for email alerts for new titles by Julie Kenner. I'm also a bit embarassed by my fall from literary grace. My "good books" are in bookcases in our bedroom (shelved appropriately by fiction, non-fiction, British lit, poetry, short stories, anthologies, and plays). You have to make your way up to our office to find my secret collection. I may be out of the chick-lit closet, but only by a step or two.

Now it's time to sully my brother. Tonight he told me that he's read chick-lit before, "The Devil Wears Prada" and hated it. Well, guess what? So did I! He also claims that we're polar opposites on the reading spectrum, but I know, deep down, that there's a part of him that is ready for my genre (ask him about Agatha Christie and Martha Grimes).

Brendan has made Chicago his home for the past 12 years, living his dream. As such, it's only fitting that I suggest that he read "Bitter is the New Black", the first in a series of memoirs by Jen Lancaster, a fellow Chicagoan. I, unapologetically, love Jen Lancaster. Like Brendan, she has chosen Chicago to be her home. She loves movies and television-- even dogs (I'm sure they've passed each other by at the dog park). She's even funny, like my brother. Jen (I think I can call her Jen) isn't traditional chick-lit; she's all about self-deprecating humor, which fits my brother to a T. Quite honestly, I don't understand why their lives haven't crossed paths yet. I mean, she thinks things up like this. Shouldn't they be friends?

In true older sister fashion, I've gone ahead and ordered Jen's first book for Brendan (because it's not enough to suggest it, I've gone ahead and made the book appear in Amazon magic at his door). I suspect that in September, we'll be scooping ice cream together while he begs to borrow the rest of her work.

So, B, while you wait until the book arrives at your door on Friday, take a sneak peek at Jen. I know you'll laugh.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't read "TDWP," I skimmed it. Here is why I hated it.

    1. The lowest stakes in a book since "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." She gets an entry level position and - gasp - has to get coffee? A galley of the new Harry Potter book? When do we Americans stand together and say, "Enough is enough!"

    2. The book is not funny. "Yes it is!" you argue. No, the movie is funny because they paid a funny person (Paul Rudnick, who also wrote our aunt's favorite book from 1990, "I'll Take It") to write funny things for Meryl Streep to say. You might argue that TDWP was never meant to be a comic romp. I agree, but then that means you willingly read a book about the difficulties of getting coffee.

    3. The author is younger than me. Jealousy at other's stratospheric success is a valid reason for not liking a book.