“If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.”
Amen to that and thank you John Waters for putting it so beautifully.
I’ve been a voracious reader all of my life. I go through at least two books a month and I will happily devour anything from the classics, to crime fiction, to fantasy, to non-fiction and, of course, erotica. I am an avowed book nerd and an extremely proud one. There are books on science, books on religion, books on relationships and books on dragons and magic dotted all about my house. I read Lady Chatterley’s Lover at thirteen and Simone De Beauvoir’s The Second Sex two years later. When it comes to literature, I’ve always managed to be one step ahead of where I’m expected to be.
Throughout high school I’d get in trouble for reading books under the table during lessons. I’d read whilst waiting for lessons to start and I’d read whilst waiting for them to end. Over the five years I spent in high school, I never got away from that one strange and mysterious question.
Why are you reading?
I didn’t know how to answer it then and I still don’t know how to answer it now. What do you mean why am I reading? I read for a million and one different reasons. I read because there’s nothing better than a good book. I read because books are way fucking cool and anybody who doesn’t agree has a little bit of something missing from their soul.*
I don’t know when a love for books stopped being natural and became something unusual. Sure, we’ve got movies and television shows and video games and Kindles, but have you ever stopped and thought about the nature of a book? How about the notion that there are FICTIONAL characters in the world that are more famous than a lot of real people? How absolutely mental is that?
Just think about Heathcliff or Oliver Twist. Think about Harry Potter for Christ’s sake! There are people in the world who don’t know who Nelson Mandela is but they can tell you every little detail about the birth, childhood and adventures of a fictional teenager who lives in a magic castle. To me, that is insane – that is the perfect example of just how much power a book can wield.
So, don’t even get me started on the Kindle. I loathe the Kindle. I mean, I get it. I understand why a person would buy one but no matter how much hype I hear and no matter how many friends flip and end up buying one – it’s not for me. And it’s not because I want to be this literary purist that’s trying to out-retro everybody else in the world. It’s just because books are great.
They look great. They feel great to handle and to hold. They even smell nice. There is more beauty in a book than in twenty years worth of The Only Way Is Essex or Geordie Shore. There are more life lessons in a book than in a decade’s worth of television.
Books have taught me everything that I know. I am a liberal, generous, free thinking human being because I’ve been exposed to every possible facet of life through literature. When I was wee’ my parents imposed television and film limits on me just like everybody else’s parents did. But they were never readers themselves and they never understood the nature of the things that I chose to read.
That’s why I read One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest at thirteen and learned about society’s perceptions of mental health. I read The Handmaid’s Tale and learned about society’s treatment of women. I read Death Of A Salesman and learned about the horrors of old age. I read Tipping The Velvet and learned about the delights of girl-on-girl affection. And I read The God Delusion and became a much better person for it.
Books made me.
*This does not apply to the Twilight series or Fifty Shades Of Grey. Sorry.
These are my top five favourite books. What’s your favourite?
- Katherine Dunn – Geek Love
- Stephen King – It
- Simone De Beauvoir – The Second Sex
- Inga Musico – Cunt
- George Orwell – 1984