||[May. 28th, 2009|11:12 pm]
My Very Own God
I have decided that the worst conversation starter in the history of ever is:|
"Is that a good book?"
Picture this. I'm sitting outside, on break, on a bench underneath a tree. I've got my nose deep in a paperback, and am apparently oblivious to the fact that you just walked up to me and have been standing there for the past 45 seconds. I'm either really enjoying the book, in which case the question has already been answered, or I'm ignoring you, in which case you shouldn't ask it anyway. And yet you ask, which forces me to break my reverie or my pretense, and answer you in some way that you will find meaningful.
Now, okay, there are exceptions. You're a cute guy, for example, and you think I'm pretty cute too. Or it's a book you've seen at the bookstore, and you want my honest, literary opinion of it, in which case you should probably ask a different question: something like "I've seen that around, does it live up to the hype?" or "How does that compare with his first novel?" or "What's the underlying theme?" (wherein you should also note how far into the book I am, but nicely done anyway). Something that means you're honestly curious about my answer.
But the question "is that a good book?" implies that you are simply trying to start a conversation for the sake of not feeling alone. And if you've ever been in the middle of a really good, focused read, you'll already know the irritation of being interrupted. My suggestion? Unless you're planning on asking me to dinner, pick a different damned bench, and watch the freaking squirrels. It's mating season. They're fascinating. Seriously.