Lists, Reviews

Admitting You’re a Nerd Is the First Step: A Top Ten List

The first step to what, I don’t know…

This week’s top ten list: best bookish memories (as hosted by The Broke and The Bookish).

In chronological order?

The first time I read IT by Stephen King (you knew he’d be on this list somehow). I was 12 and the lone member of the Loser(s) Club. I lived in a small town and was the daughter of the town rebel who’d mysteriously disappeared. This particular small New England town had a way of both scrutinizing and overlooking you at the same time – a personal Derry, if you will. Reading about the Loser’s Club and how they all grew up to be successful despite their wretched beginnings (especially Bev) made me feel infinitely better. I think this was when I first started taking comfort in horror.

Discovering Jasper Fforde. “A pun is to wordplay what dominatrix sex is to foreplay – a stinging whip that elicits groans of guilty pleasure.” I like puns, both good and bad. It is not uncommon for my reviews to have puns in them. I’m also very fond of wordplay, particularly anagrams, euphemisms, oxymorons, and acrostics. So when I discovered Jasper Fforde (and The Jane Eyre Affair – how perfect), I fell in love. What’s often read dictates life, oftentimes validating expectations. (I feel like if I don’t point out that the last line is an acrostic, no one will get it. True, no?)

Reading John Irving. Because what’s life without levity and meandering flights of fancy in the face of serious issues.

Listening to Stephen King read Bag of Bones. It’s my favorite SK novel being read by the man himself. It was also interesting to hear how he intended it to be read (prosodic stress, emotion, the importance of a proper Maine accent, etc.).

Reading The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. I’ve always felt very few people share my love for overly descriptive, borderline ridiculous language (which contrasts nicely with my love for minimalism). I believe Andrew Davidson shares my love as evidenced by The Gargoyle. Case(s) in point:

ex.1: My words were Egyptian hieroglyphics before the discovery of the Rosetta stone; my words were wounded soldiers limping home, guns spent, from a lost battle; my words were dying fish, flipping hysterically as the net is opened and the pile spreads across the boat deck like a slippery mountain trying to become a prairie.

ex. 2: Love isn’t a steadfast dog at all; love is more like a pygmy mouse lemur. Yes, that’s exactly what love is: a tiny, jittery primate with eyes that are permanently peeled open in fear. For those of you who cannot quite picture a pygmy mouse lemur, imagine a miniature Don Knotts or Steve Buscemi wearing a fur coat.

ex. 3: A cheese strand dangled from her mouth to the edge of her left nipple, and I wanted to rappel it like a mozzarella commando to storm her lovely breasts.

It’s nearly too much. Ridiculous and perfect. Language is wonderful, it needs to be manipulated and wallowed in from time to time.

Embracing my inner nerd and ’80’s love (and falling for Ready Player One). As Lit Nerd Around the World said: It’s a strange mix between Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryThe Matrix and the entire decade of the 1980’s…There are more geek references than you can stamp your foot at.

Finding others like me. Blogging has taught me that I’m not as unusual (read: weird) as I feel. This is good. Why yes, there are others who love Jane Eyre, Portlandia, Pad Thai, and Doctor Who (Alisa). There are even others who love John Irving, Richard Russo (I predict the future, so I know), good food, the ’80’s, and boarding schools as much as I do (Kate). There are even those who understand the seriousness of the The Oxford Comma.

Finding out that Shia LaBeouf had been replaced by Daniel Radcliffe in the Horns movie adaptation. No one said these had to be life changing. I’m a big fan of Joe Hill’s Horns and was more than nervous when I heard that Shia LaBeouf had been cast as Ig. I was significantly relieved when I found out about the casting change and now I can watch the movie without cringing.

Finally reading David Sedaris. I’d, via address (or perhaps redress), been told to read David Sedaris by more than a few of you. After reading this, I finally caved. How did I avoid reading Sedaris for so long? I don’t know. He’s even mentioned in the comments of this post I wrote last year (claiming I needed to finally read something by him). Didn’t happen, but the situation has now been rectified (I’m on my third book) and I recently listened to this (would’ve been better at Christmas, but still good).

My bookish memories are neither profound, nor particularly entertaining. You might deserve a prize if you read through this entire list. I’ve never met an author, though I saw Clive Cussler once in Golden, Colorado (he used to live here), rarely go to signings, and don’t belong to any book clubs (though I do lead a science one, does that count?). In short, I’m fairly certain my memories only matter to me, but I’m looking forward to reading yours (all of you who meet at ALA, BEA, Comic-Con, or live in NY where all the authors go).

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  • http://twitter.com/PrttyDdlyRvws Bekka (@PrttyDdlyRvws)

    By far the best part of blogging is having found other people out there who are just as book-nerdy as I am. It’s a wonderful feeling, and really exciting to be able to finally discuss books with people!

    Bekka
    Pretty Deadly Reviews

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory O’Connor

      For some reason, very few people I know in real life are readers – even the other librarians I know. Maybe they get sick of books at work?

  • http://booksaremyfavouriteandbest.wordpress.com booksaremyfavouriteandbest

    Well I think this is the best list of ALL! (It’s got nothing to do with a certain mention…)
    Glad you’ve discovered Sedaris. He has a new book out in May which I’m looking forward to (titled ‘Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls).

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory O’Connor

      It’ll be out in April here and though I’m sure I’ll read it, I now have a backlog of his books to get through (a pleasant challenge though).

  • http://booksaremyfavouriteandbest.wordpress.com booksaremyfavouriteandbest

    Also, had my top ten this week not been so completely self-centered, I also would have made mention of all the lovely, like-minded readers I have ‘met’ through blogging *you*.

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory O’Connor

      If I lost my signed copy of Rob Lowe’s book, there’d be drama. It’s bad enough that I lost my paperback copy of Empire Falls to my brother. If he didn’t live with 5 other 18 years old boys I would go hunt it down myself.

      • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory O’Connor

        I should point out that I do not actually have a signed copy of Rob Lowe’s book. I just wish I did.

  • marissa

    that clip is too funny. falling in love with ready player one was definitely a highlight. totally LOVED that book and read it before I headed out to a video game convention which made it extra fun

    My Top Ten

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory O’Connor

      I love when things workout coincidentally like that. Ready Player One was one of my favorite books I read last year.

  • http://froodianpseudoanalysis.wordpress.com DrFrood

    A girl gave me a copy of The Gargoyle a few years ago – no one else I’ve come across has ever even heard of it… It’s like the novel form of overwrought, adolescent love poetry and totally over the top. I enjoyed it more than I probably should have…

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory O’Connor

      At some point, I’ll probably have to face the fact that Andrew Davidson is my literary soul mate. Not only does he claim Jasper Fforde and Vladimir Nabokov as influences, he has two acrostics built into his chapter titles. (On a separate, but mildly related note: thanks to the novel, someone found my blog yesterday by searching “acrostic for pygmy mouse lemur” – totally made my day, I’m sure it was love at first site for the viewer).

      How can anyone not enjoy The Gargoyle? Any author who can link love, lemurs, and Steve Buscemi (and be published) should be given a medal. Life is not much fun if you cannot delight in the ridiculous.

      • http://froodianpseudoanalysis.wordpress.com DrFrood

        My literary soulmate is anyone who can write a book that’s 1,000 pages long and crammed with weapon statistics. Ideally it should have a title featuring a word like ‘protocol’ and at least one letter of the Greek alphabet: The Epsilon Dilemma, The Gamma Protocol.

        Sorry Terry Pratchett for stealing your joke.

        • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory O’Connor

          Thankfully that’s a joke, otherwise I’d have to pair you with Glenn Beck. That would be unfortunate.

          • http://froodianpseudoanalysis.wordpress.com DrFrood

            Who’s joking? I needed something to read after getting through my Dan Brown collection.

            Twice.

  • http://blogoferised.blogspot.com/ Ula @ Blog of Erised

    I love finding other booknerds like me, makes me feel connected to others in such a deep level, it’s amazing!

    My TTT

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory O’Connor

      It does make you realize what a small world we live in now that you can find someone with such similar interests in Australia or Europe.

  • http://gravatar.com/bethfarwell bethfarwell

    You’ve had some great memories. So what if they aren’t “spectacular” to others, they have meaning to you and that’s all that matters! Plus, with these lists.. we get to live vicariously through other people! [I know I do]
    It’s great to hear other bookish memories, and get a different perspective!
    -Beth @ YA Vixens

    Vixens Top Ten

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory O’Connor

      I’m not a particularly sentimental person, so it was fun to try and think of 10 memories (probably explains why most of them were recent).

      I’m always jealous when I hear of other bloggers going to all the big conferences!

  • http://bookwanderer.wordpress.com tarynwanderer

    I really like the idea of finding comfort in horror, and I totally get it (despite coming around to the horror genre a bit later than you)! I think these were great bookish memories–if they are meaningful to you, it doesn’t matter that they seem profound to anyone else! :)

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory O’Connor

      I’m glad you can relate, most people find my horror comfort weird, but I love it. If you’re really fond of the genre, then it makes perfect sense.

  • http://picturemereading.wordpress.com picturemereading

    Yay! For embracing your inner nerd! I LOVE DAVID SEDARIS! Seriously though I can’t read his stuff in public…people look at me strangely LOL

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory O’Connor

      I know what you mean, I’ve been reading his books over lunch recently and I’m convinced that my coworkers think there’s something wrong with me. Despite being a librarian (and working with other librarians), I’m still seem unusually bookish for the field – especially when I make them listen to particular passages from the book (they look at me like “Okay, Rory, take it down a notch”).

  • http://exlibrisheather.wordpress.com exlibrisheather

    Loved the Eyre Affair! I haven’t read any other books in the series yet but they are on my TBR list. Also I LOVED Ready Player One. I don’t really like video games, so I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did.

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory O’Connor

      I’m not overly fond of video games, but still loved Ready Player One as well. However, I love the ’80’s so it was still a lot of fun to read.

  • http://gravatar.com/justabookreader Amy

    David Sedaris is the best. I haven’t read one his books in a while though; need to change that this year. I still need to read Ready Player One. I keep forgetting about it…something else to fix this year.!

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory O’Connor

      He is. He has a new book book coming out this April – perfect opportunity to read him again.

      If you were born somewhere between 1978-1983 and you actually enjoyed the ’80’s, Ready Player One is a must read. It’s just a lot of fun.

      My #1 must read (older) book this year is American Gods, which I just got tonight.

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