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Here’s a kinda hokey humor piece about new literary terms.

My favorite is litrosexual: Someone who prefers books to sex.

Praise God. Someone finally found a way to describe my sexual orientation.

When other people describe their ideal date, they say things like “moonlit walk on the beach” or “candlelit dinner by the sea” or, if they’re being honest, “steamy raucous sex with a hot woman, two if possible.”

My ideal date consists of quietly curling up on the couch with a good book, two if possible. This is nearly identical to the way I spend my evenings anyway, but the crucial difference here is that, on a date, there would be another person reading on the couch.

But don’t be fooled. This scenario makes it seem simple to win the favors of a litrosexual, but complications can ensue. If you ever let slip that you enjoy reading bad books, the litrosexual will drop you like a hot coal.

Speaking of which, it occurs to me now that every person I’ve ever slept with (of which there are, um, hordes. No—droves) was a big fan of Dune, which is hands down the Worst Book Ever. The only reason these liaisons occurred was because I wasn’t yet out of the litrosexual closet.

Hmm. I wonder if litrosexuals can get married in this state?

But now I am a proud litrosexual, and as such, I feel qualified to tell you which books were the best of 2006. Very astute readers, by which I mean Marian, will recall that I have no patience for authorities who try to tell other people which books are good, unless the authority in question is me.

Actually—and dear readers, it pains me so to admit this—it may be that I am not, in fact, the best person to do this list. God knows the NY Times isn’t but my problem is that I don’t read a lot of current books. The problem with dead authors is they’re, you know, dead. Nothing new coming out of them, ‘cept for V.C. Andrews.

Some people only read new books. Blows my mind. If you want a book on stem cell research, okay, sure, I see your point, you want something current. But for pleasure reading, who the hell cares when it was written? I can see not wanting a book from the 17th century, but is it really going to kill you to read a book written in 2003?

So I haven’t, um, read very many books published in 2006. Which is going to make my Best of 2006 list kind of tricky. Just humor me, okay?

Eight* Best Books Published in 2006
According to Jessica Kennedy-Rockefeller, the Only Opinion That Matters

(Eight, because I only read 9 books published in 2006, and Stephen King’s Cell just sucked)

The Nymphos of Rocky Flats
Mario Acevedo

Military man turns into vampire in Iraq. Returns home. Investigates fiendish plot by aliens to turn Americans into nymphos.

Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
Svetlana Alexievich

Don’t just take my word for it. Sarah Statz Cords of Nonfiction Readers Anonymous liked it, too, and she’s always right. (Speaking of which, her book would be on this list if I’d done more than just skim it. The Real Story: A Guide to Nonfiction Reading Interests was published in 2006, and it rocks.)

So anyway, Voices from Chernobyl was written 20 years after the disaster. It is history at its finest: you get to hear the real stories of real victims told in their own words. This is a profoundly disturbing book.

Fun Home
Alison Bechdel

Not since reading Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Men have I had to consult outside sources just to get through the text. By outside sources, I mean dictionaries, I mean encyclopedias, I mean art criticism. (League and Fun Home are both graphic novels, by the way. But we all know that GNs aren’t real literature.)

Fun Home is an incredibly intelligent book. It is a memoir of Bechdel’s youth, and it focuses on her father, a depressed and closeted homosexual. The artwork is gorgeous and the characters are vivid. Another profoundly disturbing book for ya.

Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies
June Casagrande

Not the best grammar book I’ve read—and I’ve read a LOT of them—but one of the funnier ones. Realizing that I am a great big meanie is—forgive the repetition—profoundly disturbing.

Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster
Michael Eric Dyson

Race and Katrina and government fuckups. (That is to say, fuckups (v) performed by the government, and fuckups (n) employed by the government). Profoundly disturbing.

An Inconvenient Truth
Al Gore

You guessed it: Profoundly Disturbing. Why couldn’t Gore have displayed this passion in 2000? This is Gore in his element, talking about something that truly matters to him. The book is about global warming and it has charts and photos galore. It scared the shit out of me, and caused me to amend two of my evil ways: Now I carry around a cloth bag to use at the grocery store instead of plastic bags, and I’ve reconfigured my electronic stuff to not use energy unless it’s actively being used.

The Prop
Pete Hautman

Pete Hautman is one of those unappreciated authors. The man won a YA National Book Award, for crying out loud (for Godless), but nobody knows who he is. He writes great books in all manner of genres. The Prop is a noirish story with a professional card-dealing dame for a hero. It rocks.

Making Comics
Scott McCloud

Who knew art criticism could be laugh out loud funny? McCloud has written an insightful, detailed, glorious how-to guide for people who want to make comix. I’m not one of them, but I was enchanted—remarkable, considering how little tolerance I have for books about things I don’t know how to do, like repairing cars, or cooking food. The book is presented in Graphic Novel format and it is probably my favorite on this list.

4 responses »

  1. Litrosexual! I love it! My husband and I would fit into that quite nicely, I think, and we just bought some new sex toys — three new bookcases!

  2. And here not *one* person I’ve slept with has been a Dune fan. Clearly, we need to set up some manner of exchange program.Your plot summary for "Nymphos of Rocky Flats" sure makes it seem disturbing, if not profound…

  3. Hmmmm….Litrosexual. Awesome. Does that count for BBC productions based on books too, since I’ve watched "Under the Greenwood Tree" (Thomas Hardy adaptation) three times in the past three days and all I can say is, I’m satisfied! (Hey, just watch it if you don’t believe me…but be warned, it is absurdly romantic.) And hey, great shout-out on "Voices from Chernobyl." I forgot until I was looking it up yesterday that it was also the National Book Critics Circle Award winner for the past year. All the more reason to pay attention to the NBCC award, not so much to the New York Times Notable list.

  4. Okay, yeah. Cell probably bit, But Stephen King is one of the most astute commentators on popular culture writing today! And he is NOT some tweedypincenezwearingleatherelbowed academic! Dude likes Metallica! And Pete Hautman rocks, too! Didn’t read Godless, read one of his conman novels. I lurv conman stories. Cause I wanna be one.Cause my initial goal of being a hood ornament isn’t panning out. So, I guess it’s time for more coffee, what?


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