I always feel a little self-conscious and embarrassed whenever I buy mass-market paperbacks, especially at places like Powell's. As ridiculous as it sounds, I worry that the clerks are secretly judging me by my reading choices, and although there are days when my arms are piled high with Thomas Pynchon, various classics, and nonfiction ranging from historical examinations of Victorian England to the selected writings of artifical intelligence researchers, there are also days when all I sheepishly bring to the counter are fantasy novels and Stephen King paperbacks, maybe a Carl Hiassan book or two. All it takes is a twitch of the cashier's eyebrow and the faintest hint of a smirk to for me to flush and feel suddenly ashamed of my English major, like I should be reading something more intelligent instead of wasting my time on such (gloriously delightful!) trash literature.
Buying hardcore pornography would probably be less embarrassing. That's how big a deal this is.
Today wasn't too bad, though. I suspect buying a Jasper Fforde novel along with Scott Smith's The Ruins was a good idea, if only because it allowed me to preserve a little of my English major cred and save face in front of the clerk. I didn't bother telling her that the whole point of the Powell's expedition in the first place was to secure a copy of The Ruins. Certain things I won't admit to in public.
I wanted to read the book mostly because The Boy and I saw the movie over the weekend, and it was so delightfully silly that I had to see if the book was equally so. We went into the film with the lowest of low expectations -- there wasn't anything else out that we wanted to see and yet the idea of a movie in a movie theater was incredibly attractive -- and as a result, I was pleasantly surprised that there were a few decent thrills. It's not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a moderately entertaining little horror film, and I jumped more than a few times, much to The Boy's amusement.
The best part, though? Man-eating plants. That shit's awesome.
What cracks me up most is that The Boy is something of a carnivorous plant aficionado -- he's currently raising a bunch of different North American pitcher plants, and at various times he's also had sundews and miscellaneous fly-traps -- so now he's all gung-ho for me to read the book so I can (a) tell him how it is and (b) perhaps even let him borrow it, so that (c) he can determine whether the author did more research into carnivorous plants than the filmmakers did.
"My guess?" I told him. "Probably not."
"Still, though," he groused. "Green, leafy plants underground? What kind of shit is that? And there's no way vines like that could produce the kind of digestive enzymes you'd need to eat away human flesh so quickly!"
"You're cute when you get your geek on, you know that?"
"Pfft. Nah. Although that's another thing -- why vines? That makes no sense either." And with that, he was off again.
It probably says a lot about me as a person that instead of finding this annoying, I find it charming and adorable...to the point where I am excited about reading the ridiculous book solely so I can share the good bits with him and -- if I'm lucky -- listen to him rant some more about the digestive properties of the average pitcher plant as compared to those of the plants in the fly-trap family.