Words for Worms Rewind: I Just Don’t Get It. Keep it Copasetic.

July 23, 2015 Humor, Idiosyncratic Lit List, Pretentious 15

Hi Ho Bookworms!

Today I’m turning back the clock again, because I’ve still got some posts that were devoured by the internet’s gaping maw during my blog transfer to self-hosting many moons ago. I’ve been peppering them in here and there so my genius isn’t lost. That, and I’ve been extremely lazy lately and these posts are ALREADY WRITTEN and basically nobody ever read them. So. Welcome to my brain of three years ago. You’re welcome, and I’m sorry.

I try to be well rounded in my reading. I like to sample different genres and authors. I like to mix in some literary broccoli with my steady diet of word nachos. I’ll watch smart movies or TV shows and when witty characters reference a book, I’ll often make it a point to check it out. (Most recently I sampled The Phantom Tollbooth because they were talking about it on New Girl, but Gilmore Girls holds the record for most book recommendations. Rory Gilmore was SO GOOD for teen literacy!)

Sometimes though, when I’m reading something specifically so I can get pop culture references, I end up really confused, a little annoyed, and certain I missed something. The following outlines some of these gems that I Just. Don’t. Get. (If you have “Bound for the Floor” by Local H stuck in your head right now, thanks to the title of this post, you are awesome.)

aconfederacyofduncesA Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole tops my list. I just finished reading this, and it was a trial. At first, I was amused. Ignatius’s dialogue sounded JUST LIKE Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons in my head. Ignatius was over-the-top-ridiculous, but all the characters kept doing stupid crap. That SHOULD be really funny, but I just wasn’t that into it. I kept falling asleep (which reminds me of a post I intend to do one day on the greatest sleep aids ever disguised as books *UPDATE: that post can be found here*). I was so sure I missed something that I hit up Wikipedia. The internet was remarkably unhelpful here- all it did was offer me an AWESOME cast list of people who were slated to be in the movie version of this book that was never made. I don’t understand it. Why would everyone flock to this project? Why is this book famous? What am I missing? Maybe I’m just not smart enough to get it. (Unfortunately, Toole doesn’t get a second chance to win my favor. He committed suicide and A Confederacy of Dunces was published posthumously, which is really sad and I feel like a jerk for hating his book. Hopefully his ghost doesn’t show up to haunt me, or pelt me with Paradise hot dogs…)

Let’s talk about Kurt Vonnegut. I read Slaughterhouse-Five because Hubs was obsessed with Lost and was constantly reading spoilers online. He said that Slaughterhouse-Five contained clues to the mystery behind the island. The book was based on a guy who time traveled and was abducted by aliens and was kept in a zoo with a movie star. (I hope you’re all making the “question mark face” right now.) I suppose this relates to Lost because Desmond did some back and forth time travel and then half the cast ended up in the 70s… But considering Lost didn’t answer a lot of other questions, I’m probably expecting too much out of literary parallels. Overall though, Slaughterhouse-Five really wasn’t my cup of tea.

I never intended to read more Vonnegut, but then Amazon (that saucy minx) had a sale on breakfastofchampionsBreakfast of Champions. A Kindle book at a discount? How could I be expected to resist? I am easily swayed by marketing tactics! I was treated to yet another bizarre romp through weird people doing weird things. Some guy snaps and starts shooting up a hotel convention. Now, I appreciate quirky, but murderous rampages don’t really fry my bacon.Please excuse me while I go on a tangent, BUT- does anyone remember that 80s flick where Rodney Dangerfield goes to college? Vonnegut does a cameo in which he’s hired to write Dangerfield’s English paper about his own book and it only gets a ‘B.’ I seriously think people ascribe meaning to things authors never intended. I mean, how could anyone write ANYTHING while consciously thinking “yeeeeees I’ll make the flower on this bush RED to symbolize Hester Prynne’s punishment…” the whole time? Moving on…

Hunter S. Thompson. Holy crap on a cracker, was Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas insane. I suppose it should have been, since I don’t know that Thompson was ever sober. I live a pretty clean lifestyle, I’m not like a saint or anything, but the only recreational drugs I indulge in usually come to the table with an umbrella garnish (ie, fruity cocktails.) I was totally unprepared for the onslaught of drugs they were doing. I don’t even know what mescaline is! (For reals, y’all, I had to google it.) As if acid and weed and cocaine weren’t enough, there was nitrous oxide in the trunk of the car. You know, laughing gas from the dentist’s office? This book was predictably random, full of hallucinations and close encounters with the cops. Now I get to feel like a terrible human being for disliking not one, but TWO suicidal authors.

Hi, I’m Katie, the worst person EVER. Don’t come too close or I’ll pinch you and kick your dog! (That’s an exaggeration showing how awful I feel. I do not, in fact, kick dogs. I do, however, eat bacon. Don’t call PETA on me, please.)

I swear, 2012 me was so pithy, wasn’t she? I still feel the same about all these books. I seriously don’t get them at all, but hey. Not every book is for every reader, yadda yadda yadda. Now it’s your turn to dish, Bookworms. What’s a book that you felt like you ought to read that you just didn’t quite get?

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15 Responses to “Words for Worms Rewind: I Just Don’t Get It. Keep it Copasetic.”

  1. Megan M.

    I LOVE THAT SONG AND YOU ARE MY SOULMATE, KATIE! But I already knew that. What were we talking about? Oh, books. I haven’t read any of these. My younger sister LOVES Kurt Vonnegut. He seems like a great guy, but none of his books interest me enough to try them.

    I read “Look At Me” by Jennifer Egan because the literary world was freaking out about it. I didn’t get it at all, and part of the story was just flat-out disturbing. I think I made myself finish it because that was how I rolled back then, but man, did I not get it. The litworld freaked out over her book “Welcome to the Goon Squad” a few years ago also, but I did not read that, because “Fool me once…”

    • Words For Worms

      WE ARE SOUL MATES! I read A Visit from the Goon Squad and I made myself finish it because everyone loved it but I could not figure out what all the fuss was about. Jennifer Egan, I do not get you!

  2. AMB (Amal)

    I love Kurt Vonnegut (particularly Slaughterhouse Five and Cat’s Cradle), but I really didn’t like Confederacy of Dunces. My husband gave it to me when we were dating and, well, it made me wonder if we were really compatible! 😉

  3. Heather @ Capricious Reader

    Your three-years-ago brain is suspiciously like MY three-years-ago brain. And also my current brain. Those three titles along make my synapses hurt. Also, you don’t get more pithy than “holy crap on a cracker.” Word.

  4. Michelle

    I’ve never tried Thompson’s novel, but I have read the others one. I’ll admit that I did like them all. A lot. I love dark and disturbing and quirky and plain odd. Those types of stories bread my butter. It seems I struggle with the novels everyone loves, like Beautiful Ruins or Station Eleven. Those are two “I don’t get the fuss” stories for me, for sure!

  5. Darlene @ Lost in Literature 108

    Girl, I loved this post!! And I feel the same way you do about Slaughterhouse Five. I read it for my LOST book club challenge and I just kept waiting for the good stuff and then…nope. I do remember liking the beginning and I highlighted the part that was affirming about The Brothers Karamazov. (Also on my challenge) But that was it.

  6. Just me, Vee

    This is a comment that has nothing to do with this post, but about the post you did regarding “reading with your ears”. I read “Where’d you go, Bernadette?” in book form quite a while ago, but now I am listening to it, and, WOW! It’s fabulous as an audiobook. The narrator is fantastic. I bet you don’t re-read books, as there are too many new ones to get to, but if you get a chance, listen to it.

  7. Jenny @ Reading the End

    Vonnegut for me too, I’m afraid. When my sister was first starting to get really serious about her then-boyfriend-now-husband, he came on a family camping trip and loaned me Slaughterhouse Five. And I wanted us to bond over books we mutually liked, but I could NOT with that book. I’ve tried Cat’s Cradle as well — no joy — and now I accept that Vonnegut simply ain’t for me.

  8. thatashgirl

    People made such a big deal about Confederacy of Dunces. I think it was mostly hyped because of his death. I didn’t care for it. But I’m a total fan of Hunter S. Thompson. I’ve read pretty much all of his books.

    • Words For Worms

      Are any Hunter Thompson books not about being strung out on every conceivable drug? I’d be willing to give it another go. Heck, even if it were just drugs I was familiar with…

  9. thatashgirl

    The Rum Diary is less about drugs and more about being a sports journalist for a shitty magazine in Puerto Rico. It of course features a lot of Rum. I just loved all the old Vegas things in Fear and Loathing.

    Also everything I know about hard drugs comes from Fear and Loathing, Breaking Bad and Trainspotting.

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