Saturday, June 13, 2009

Today's book was suggested by Sara - well sort of, she suggested an Augusten Burroughs book and left it up to me to decide which one. And I chose Dry because. . . well how could I not pick a book with a fish in a martini glass on the cover. It was just too weird for me to pass up.

Today I finally broke out of my reading slump. I have been feeling for the last five days as if I don't want to read at all, and I was starting to get really worried because I've never had that many days in a row where I didn't feel like reading. Thoughts were running through my head like Well that's it, I'll never feel like reading again and the whole project is ruined. In other words, I'm good in the middle of a crisis - I keep a level head. But after reading today's book I feel reinvigorated.

Today's book, "You may not know it, but you've met Augusten Burroughs. You've seen him on the street, in bars, on the subway, at restaurants: a twenty-something guy, nice suit, works in advertising. Regular. Ordinary. But when the ordinary person had two drinks, Augusten was circling the drain by having twelve; when the ordinary person went home at midnight, Augusten never went home at all. At the request of his employers (well, it wasn't really a request) of his employers, Augusten lands in rehab."

Do the beginning couple of sentences of that description remind anyone else of a movie trailer? Are you hearing that "movie theater man" voice while reading it and imaging music in the background, the kind that starts out peppy and then becomes dark and Melrose Place-ish as the announcer guy talks about Augusten's drinking problem, followed by the announcer saying "Join Augusten as he takes a voyage of self-discovery. Coming to theaters August 2009." Or am I the only one who has the voice of the movie theater guy living in my head?

I enjoyed most of today's book - with the exception of the first chapter which was a mixture of enjoyment and disgust.

  • The enjoyment part came when the author was discussing his job in advertising and how hard it is to come up with an ad campaign for a product that is terrible. A produce that, despite its awfulness (it that even a word) he has to make seem is "essential to the continued quality of life." While reading that I kept thinking about those ridiculous commercials for onion choppers - the one that starts out reminding us all of how hard it is to cut up an onion the traditional way - and judging by the sweat, messed up hair, and wrinkled clothes of the person demonstrating the hardships of onion cutting the degree of difficulty involved seems to fall somewhere between digging a ditch and performing brain surgery. But, thanks to the magic Onion Chopper all your hassles are over. You can now cut up onions in less than ten seconds, and you can use the spare time to do much more important things - although if the after shot of the person using the onion chopper is any indication those "important things" don't include fixing ones hair or putting on a decent outfit. Isn't it a relief to know that America is now saved from the backbreaking work of cutting up an onion?

  • The horrifying part of the chapter came in when the author went out for drinks with his friend the undertaker, who shared some rather gruesome details of his job - details which I may never be able to get out of my head again. Gross, gross, and more gross. Oh how I wish I had skipped over those parts - but that stupid conscience had to get in the way and say ridiculous things like Angie, that wouldn't be right. You can't write a blog entry where you claim to have read the whole book when you've really skipped three pages. Damn that conscience, it gets in the way of everything, always wrecking all the fun and forcing me to do responsible, grown-up things.

And then there was the best part of all, when the author gets drunk and starts singing Karaoke to The Brady Bunch theme song. You know how I feel about a book that mentioned The Brady Bunch (and for those of you who are new and don't know about my Brady Bunch obsession: it makes me feel like I'm wrapped in a warm blanket on a cold winter day). It's ironic that The Brady Bunch is mentioned since it's going to take at least an episode or two for me to wipe away the memory of reading the gruesome parts of Chapter One. If you read this book I highly recommend you start skimming during Chapter One when Jim starts talking about work. And if you're one of those people who instantly wants to do something the minute someone tells you not to then all I have to say to you is: Don't skip those parts. Read every word.