The Big Turnoff

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I decided mid-way through last weeks Summer themed week that I really need to raise my standards when it comes to picking books. Okay, so I didn't exactly come to that conclusion on my own, it was pointed out by several people, one of them being my Mother who said, "It seems like you hate most of the books that you read." So I've decided to try a crazy new thing called having standards. Or, as I'm calling it, An Experiment In Having Standards.

I've never had book standards before, so this is a totally new thing for me, which made it rather difficult to figure out exactly what the standards would be. After reviewing some of the blog entries where I read books that I hated I decided to make a bold move, I'm going to actually read the description on the back of the book before deciding to read it. - Crazy I know. Normally I either pick the book based on the title, the front cover, the genre, or the author. Occasionally I read the first line of the description, but sometimes I get bored and just decide Good enough. Why on earth I would ever decide to read a book whose description bores me is beyond me. I'll just have to add that to the list of things I do that I don't understand along with buying that brown hat that I tried to convince myself would make me look like I should be going for an elegant drive in the country in the 1920s but really just made me look like a poverty stricken single mother who should be dropping someone off at the orphanage. I do take comfort in the fact that it made me look like a poverty stricken single mother from the 1920s, so at least I had the time period right.

So, after actually reading the descriptions on the back of a few books, here's what I came up with:

Today's book, "Currey-Wilson decides in the early stages of her pregnancy that her child will grow up without television so the family can form stronger emotional ties; the only problem is that she herself is totally addicted to the tube."

I thought it would be interesting to read about someone trying to overcome their TV addiction since I could very easily have been described as TV addicted as recently as a month ago. Although, in my case I didn't really try to get over my love of TV, it just sort of happened, and I'm still confused by it. I'm on week three of not watching TV (except for the five minutes last Tuesday that I spent mocking the hosts of Entertainment Tonight.) I haven't even watched the episode of 18 Kids and Counting that features Josh and Anna finding out the gender of their baby, and there's nothing I love more than screaming "SHUT UP" at the TV every time Josh is on.

I enjoyed today's book, for the most part anyway. I found it somewhat amusing in places and very interesting. The one shortfall was that the author got on my nerves a little bit. Throughout most of the book she was really self-righteous about her no-TV stance. She also spent most of the book smugly assuming that every parent who allows their child to watch TV sticks them in front of the TV constantly. She also seemed to overlook the fact that having a part-time nanny, part-time housekeeper, and a Mother who came and stayed for months made it easier for her to maintain her no-TV rule. Midway through I felt like writing the author a letter that says, "Watch TV, don't watch TV, it doesn't really matter to me - but for goodness sake stop acting like it makes you one step away from Mother Theresa if you don't watch." But don't let my annoyance with the author, or my desire to write her an angry letter, stop you from reading the book - I'm from the Midwest and if People Magazine's mailbag section is any indication, we seem to write a higher than average amount of angry letters to people.

When I came to the part of the book where the author was discussing her fears about the kind of adult her unborn child would turn out to be I thought, Finally, someone else who worries about stuff that's not going to even happen for years. But as it turns out, she was actually worried about the baby turning out to be a good person and not a serial killer, where as I sit around worrying What if I spend years trying to instill good taste in a child and she still turns out to be the kind of woman who wears ridiculous amounts of eye make-up, uses so much fake spray tanner that she starts to turn orange, and wants to wear Crocs? (Apologies to any Crocs fans everywhere, but I think they should be banned.) Maybe I could make up little flashcards like in the movie Baby Boom, but instead of holding them up and reciting Beethoven, Eiffel Tower, violin these cards could say Kate Spade, Coach, person wearing the appropriate amount of eye makeup. What do you think dear readers, too shallow?

And here's my favorite passage from the book in which the author is discussing how her previous TV addiction got in the way of her desire to write a book, "It was the summer after my first year of teaching and I made a writing schedule, which consisted of waking up by nine a.m. to watch reruns of The Golden Girls and Kate and Allie, followed by Little House on the Prairie at ten, Streets of San Francisco at eleven, and Perry Mason at noon. I would eat lunch and straighten up the house while watching Donahue and finally begin writing sometime between four and five p.m. until Bob came home, and then, of course, I would watch my prime-time programs after dinner."

Well overall, I think my Experiment in Having Standards went rather well today. I liked today's book a lot more than most of the books I've read this year. So I think I'm going to continue with that whole crazy reading the description of the book before reading it thing. And thank you Amy and Mom for the "The books you pick really suck" intervention. Clearly it was needed.