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Sometimes I am overcome by the desire to read a bestseller.

It's a zeitgeist thing. I vividly remember that one day on the T between Kendall/MIT and Central, every single other person in the entire subway car was reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It felt like being in a bad horror movie and I rather expected them to mob me, or issue me the required copy. I got so I could recognize that cover a hundred feet away from a tiny sliver of it; that is how it goes with bestsellers. And then people start referring to them, and there start being parodies, and chunks of my acquaintance start assuming I've read whatever the thing is, because I read, don't I? And the critical reviews of this one or that one aren't that terrible, and the movie has actors I like, and I find myself at a bookstore or in a library eying the thing dubiously and then picking it up and sitting down with it and starting to turn pages.

Once (one time) when I was eleven years old I picked up a book simply and solely because it was a bestseller and it was Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum. The rest of the time, it hasn't worked so well. I did read a book and a half of Stieg Larsson, in rapidly increasing incredulity. But generally I might as well stab myself with a fork (an experience remarkably like that of reading John Grisham).

I read this book because I was starting to want to read Eat, Pray, Love. )


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March 2017

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