Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Heart Has Reasons That Reason Does Not Understand

Reading blogs with this site reminds me of life drinking amongst amateur microbrewers, for obvious reasons. Some of them just taste good and get me appropriately but conversationally lost, without the Penn-State-battle-axe-jungle-juice-frat-party-in-your-brain hangover.

(I been chillin with this fucking conglomerate of microbrewers lately. If I were better at chemistry and had a developed palette ((that is the wrong version of that word, I can fucking feel it)), I might crack myself at that. Take a crack, if cracks were chances and places in need of plaster or slipping into. Into slipping. Someone gave me grape vodka, and I was like fuck you bitch, you don’t know me, but I drank it because hey. You know. There’s a phrase there that I forget. Sometimes there is slipping in regards to cracks, and as much as I try to avoid it, until very, very recently--basically until I started reviewing here, and even after--I felt like cracks and slipping into things against my will were slurping my life away.)

(I am drunkish.)

Literature is all the rage right now. Everyone’s all, “I’ve always wanted to be a librarian” and I’m all, “no, you’ve always wanted to read shit and tell people about it” and Bittery Books (sorry, it's BitterLY Books, but my typo is better) was has taken that world of drive and dry ambition, the fantasy one where librarians are sexy and work without lipsticked snaggleteeth and thumbsmudgy glasses, and ripened it into a blog.

It’s a good looking blog, sans snaggleteeth and thumbsmudery, although the header looks like trig homework without all the scratchy erasure marks. Still, trig made me bittery, so title? Well met. I super enjoy the booming categorical buttons on the sidebar, actually, because they’re all like, okay. You know when you’re at a bar and that one burly gorilla catches you eyeing his bald eagle denim vest, and he’s like, “WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT” and you’re like “nothing” and he’s all, “SO I’M NOTHING” and you’re all, “no, I mean, nice beard” and he’s all “FUCK YOU, SUGAR” and you’re all “make me” and then he swings his sirloin fist and you duck, and he smashes the wall and you buy him a shot of Wild Turkey he’s all, “You’re okay. So how do you feel about OUTER SPACE?” That’s how I feel about the sidebar.

So he tells you about shit he read on outer space, and you try to give an opinion but you haven’t read the same books as him, so it’s hard because you have no constructive background to contribute to the conversation. But he’s not really giving a formulated opinion either, he’s just quoting and regurgitating shit that he’s read, and although his memory is impressive and his topics are vast and his words are slightly poetic, it’s really a one-sided conversation and all you want to do is pull out and get back to your friends, where you have an actual say in things. You’re not there to get into a referential pissing contest, even though his cultural reference idioms are witty and relevant and surprisingly timeless (would you recommend this book to Mel Gibson?). If you're not paying veryclose attention, though, you'll miss them. Plus, you know. You're fucking drunk.

So you casually and politely try to jump in, but he just keeps the whiskey coming and it’s obvious he understands what he’s saying and your opinion is irrelevant, even if he doesn’t offer any thoughts of his own other than a summation of what he’s read and a short blip of, “you might like it, if you’re into that whole economic responsibility thing.” This tells me fucking nothing anyway about him other than the fact that he’s into reading fact-based, in-the-know shit, and he remembers everything.

The writing is informative and funny, if you can identify. Most entries are all the same informative summaries of usually interesting categorical non-fiction, but unless I’m actively scanning for it in the library, it’s kind of pointless. After awhile I just skipped over to the "would you recommend this book to so-and-so" portions of each entry. I don’t care how tasty the actual words are, how well-written they are, if you can't convince me to care about the topic-at-hand in the first place, if I can’t get drunk off of your words and feel anything...I wish I had another reason to stick around, but there’s more flavorful booze to be had.

Of course, this blog is supposed to be a guide to interesting non-fiction, and it excels at being a reference guide. But I feel like if you splooged a bit of yourself into descriptions, if you gave us a reason to read these books other than a basic description, you could be far more successful at it. I would come back more often. Seriously.


  1. What she said.

    Man, I wish I could leave it at that but I can't. So. Totally agree with all that you wrote, even though I only flitted around this blog. All I woulda been able to say is 'but what do YOU think of the books?' and 'why so much quoting?'

    And that is why we leave the reviews to the experts.

    ps: GYL is still eye-raping yellow. Technical difficulties.

    pps: palette, palate - who cares when you are having fun?

  2. The quoting gets out of fucking hand, doesn't it?

  3. By the way, Grumpy, this is wonderful.

  4. Thanks for the review.

    I quote so heavily because the books have more interesting things to say than I do.

    Like the woman who says she wants to get slapped in the face with a whale's dick.

    Or the religious zealots who talk about "the abortion industry" and accuse sex ed teachers of being diabolical cultists.

    Or the woman who almost lost her husband to video games.

    I could call these authors brain-damaged idiots, but I'd rather let readers draw their own conclusions. It looks like I should make that more clear somewhere on the site.

  5. Wow. I didn't even get that you found these topics ridiculous until just now. Drunk me did not understand. Too much connoting.

    So I guess your humor is too smart, which I'm sure you're okay with.

  6. I just thought you were an eccentric. Like the drunk guy who reads about ridiculous shit at the bar.

  7. I'd be more okay with being too smart if too smart and not funny didn't elicit the same response from readers.

    Still, comparison with my last Ask and Ye Shall Receive review shows that it has gone from a "steaming pile of boring" to "witty and relevant," which is a step in the right direction.

  8. Thanks Shiny - glad you liked it.

    How in the world do you link all sophistimicated like that in comments? All I know how to do is copy and past the whole big long url thingy (my technoknowledge knows no bounds, obviously)

    sorry to hijack your review comments Bitterly Books! Ooh - 'who' else are you in blogland when not reviewing books?

  9. It's handy to teach yourself a few HTML tricks. You can just type the HTML in your comments and end up with effects like bold type and hyperlinks.

    I kind of gave up on blogging a while ago, so I will neither confirm nor deny being the author of the internet's number one search result for "larp nerds".

  10. I once heard a story - I wish I could remember where - about a bookshelf possessed by someone famous that was prominently displayed in his apartment and was filled with books on the most esoteric subjects imaginable. As I recall, the books on the shelf were all subject to certain rules, like they could not be titles that would be found on anyone else's bookshelf, the titles had to have a certain magnificence to them, and all had never had their spines cracked.

    For no specific reason, this blog reminded me of that shelf.

  11. I enjoyed reading this post and the ensuing correspondence.

  12. Being an utterly nerdy book nerd... I kind of love Bitterly Books.

    Of course, only time will tell, but... BB, you're looking promising.

    Also, I utterly love this drunk review. Because there's something so innocently naughty about a drunk review. Makes me want to drink...

  13. More importantly, I realize looking back: I am friends with way too many conspiracy theorists, because when people tell me about outlandish things, I just accept it as everyday conversation and not ridiculousness.

  14. Actually I rather liked this blog and I think the review sort of missed its charms. Each to their own and all that. I did find myself thinking, during quite a few of the posts I read, that I wished the author was writing something else that made better use of their talents. I guess that might be reason enough for a one star review in its own right.

  15. That was it exactly, London. It's obvious he's got talent, and lots of it. I'd rather read his words than him quoting someone else. I would really, really like to read about him.

  16. Shinerpunch, I assure you that my life is steeped in mundanity, and writing about it would result in a drab, emo snoozefest that no one in their right mind would be interested in reading.

    Mr. London Street, thanks for the compliment, but such is the fundamentally inefficient nature of the universe. I'd apply my talents elsewhere if it actually paid. The silence and rejection that my inquiries have received is uninspiring.

  17. I fucking love you. The biker in the bar? Couldn't believe what I was reading. You got balls.


Grow a pair.