Sunday, February 22, 2009

How to read a terrible but mandatory book

This week for class I've got to read one of the Left Behind books (specifically book #4, Soul Harvest: The World Takes Sides), and I've been dragging my feet for days, avoiding cracking the damn thing open. When I did start it this afternoon, my worst expectations came true. It's terrible - contrived, melodramatic, badly paced, and full of cardboard characters who want me to find the love of Jesus Christ. Normally I set bad, preachy books down in the corner and they stay there until they've learned their lesson (or found a new home in the recycling bin), but this one I have to present on for class.

The trick to reading something terrible, I find, is to bribe myself with lots of brain parsley. You know - little bits of TV or other books that clear the nasty flavor of whatever you just read out of your brain and replace it with something innocuous. Twilight is turning out to be good brain parsley for me, but this week I've got 500+ pages to read for class, so I didn't want to bribe myself with more text to read.

This is where the Tivo is helpful. Our Tivo, Dwight K. Schrute, is notorious for recording shows that no one in my household would ever watch. It gets yelled at frequently for this. "Bring it On 2, Dwight? What the hell?" and "Dwight, you ignorant slut, stop recording ER!" and on one occasion, "The Girls Next Door? I...what? DWIGHT!" But sometimes the Tivo's bad recording habits can be a good thing.

Like when I've just read 150 pages of badly written apocalyptic Christian propoganda and all I want is to get it out of my brain, and Dwight has erroneously recorded Sex and the City. Ten minutes into the episode, my brain felt nice and hollow. Then by the time the credits rolled, I sort of wanted the world to end, so it made a decent motivator to get more reading done!

My favorite line in the book so far is "What a cauldron of death!" I read this aloud in a dramatic voice, and from the next room, Kiah responded, "Your face is a cauldron of death!" I don't think the book can top that, no matter how melodramatic it gets.

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