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Playing Chicken With Books

This is a story about how a dare, an open-minded friend, and a bunch of unwanted books came together to create a new book club, tentatively called “Not So Great Expectations.”

The players in this story are me and my friends Kristin and Katjusa. Kristin works at an office that has a bookshelf of free books people regularly borrow from. The excerpts below are edited Gchat conversations from earlier this week.

And so we begin!

Tuesday Afternoon

Kristin: We got a book into the office called Werewolf Smackdown — should I snag it for you?
Kim: Please do. I cannot think of anything I want to read more than that.
Kristin: I will pay you $5 to read and review it for your blog. Think about it.
Kim: OMG, it’s the fifth book in a series.
Kristin: It’s got all 5-star reviews on Amazon! You should read it, broaden your horizons 😀
Kim: Maybe you should read it 🙂
Kristin: Maybe I will.
Kim: This feels like a game of chicken neither of us will win.
Kristin: LOLOL. We could make it a book club book, then we all win.

I thought that was that, until the next day…

Wednesday Afternoon

Kristin: Today we got Nichole Richie’s new novel [Priceless] in at the office. OMG.
Kim: That cannot possibly be good.
Kristin: Depends on how much it’s ghost-written, I guess. I actually like Nicole Richie.
Kim: How come?
Kristin: She’s smarter than she gets credit for, and she’s snarky.

[Extended conversation about The Simple Life and reality tv in general.]

Kim: So, question: Will her book be better or worse than Werewolf Smackdown?
Kristin: I don’t know. I don’t know that I have it in me to read both. Maybe you could read one and I could read one and we could fight about it. It would be a life-enriching experience for the both of us.
Kim: We’d be forced to address our pre-conceived notions about novels by celebrities and campy vampire genre fiction.

[Extended debate about who would read what, resulting in a coin flip from another friend to break the tie. I end up with Priceless and Kristin gets Werewolf Smackdown.]

Kristin: I feel like we’re really going to expand our horizons with this experiment …
Kim: I certainly hope so
Kristin: … or we’re going to waste hours of our lives that we can never get back. One or the other!
Kim: Yes! let’s try to be more like Katjusa — approaching everything with an open mind.

[Kristin posts about the then-called “Katjusa Experiment” on Facebook, and Katjusa joined the conversation.]

Katjusa: Awesome. I’m participating, too! I still have an unread autobiography from the office stack: Topless Prophet: The True Story of America’s Most Successful Gentleman’s Club Entrepreneur.


Thus, the formation of the “Not So Great Expectations” reading group.

If you chose to just skim over my edited Gchat conversations from the last few days, the gist is this: My friend Kristin works at a place that has a shelf of free books that people frequently take from. She found Werewolf Smackdown by Mario Acevedo and Priceless by Nicole Richie on the pile, and though a series of escalating dares we decided to each read one.

I know the conversation smacks of genre-snobbery in reading, and while part of me wants to apologize for that, I have to confess that I’m a book snob. I try not to judge people for reading books they enjoy, but I do judge books pretty regularly — I know my tastes pretty well, and can usually tell when a book just isn’t going to be for me.

That said, our third friend, Katjusa, is someone I have always admired for having an open-mind and open personality. She is equally as likely to love a great new indie band as she is to appreciate going to a Vanilla Ice concert. After Kristin and I re-framed the dare as a challenge to be more open-minded about the possibility of books, I got more excited about it and I’m, oddly, looking forward to seeing what the Nicole Richie book is all about.

So there you have the reason I have Nicole Richie’s latest book, Priceless, on my TBR pile for April.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • softdrink April 2, 2011, 8:31 am

    Just going by covers, Topless Prophet wins (loses?), hands down. She looks like she has money coming out her ass.

    • Kim April 3, 2011, 10:09 am

      softdrink: I know, isn’t that absurd! If you follow the link, the author photo is just ridiculous and weird, too.

  • Joy Weese Moll April 2, 2011, 11:06 am

    What a great story! I’m looking forward to the results of this challenge!

    • Kim April 3, 2011, 10:10 am

      Joy: Me too! From the description, Priceless is going to make me want to stab an eye out, but I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised 🙂

  • Melissa April 2, 2011, 4:50 pm

    I think this is hilarious! Can’t wait to hear the results.

    • Kim April 3, 2011, 10:11 am

      Thanks Melissa! I’m curious myself, especially for Werewolf Smackdown, which actually seems like a book people enjoy.

  • Vasilly April 3, 2011, 9:48 am

    I can’t wait to hear what happens. Happy reading.Or maybe not. 😉

    • Kim April 3, 2011, 10:11 am

      Vasilly: Lol, yes. Fingers crossed for happy reading 🙂

  • Jeanne April 5, 2011, 8:40 am

    I have a blogging friend who occasionally sends me books she knows will be bad, like paperbacks left in her rental beach house. The reading can be painful, but I skim and the reviews are often very fun to write. One time an author asked the person I’d sent the book on to if she would mail it to him–and he was serious, he’d written it for money and never even gotten a copy!

    • Kim April 5, 2011, 7:26 pm

      Jeanne: That’s such a great story! I think what’s interesting about these books is that they have the potential to not be that bad, but it’s a fine, fine line 🙂