Importantly

Exhibit 21.23

On Editing A Novel #16/17

USING YOUR NOVEL TO START A RELIGION/MAKING YOUR NOVEL A NOVELIZATION OF MEGADETH’S 1990 ALBUM RUST IN PEACE. Because, really, they’re the same thing.

First, you’re going to need a copy of Rust in Peace or at least a track listing (Note: this step does not apply to you if you have ever been in Megadeth and/or have ever seen Dave Mustaine in person). Also, substituting Megadeth’s other pun-titled album Youthanasia is possible but not recommended. Using a different band or album is prohibited unless you want your religion/novel to be all wussy (Bon Iver).

Next, it’s important that you own a Megadeth t-shirt from their Clash of the Titans world tour. People at your church camps/book signings are going to need to be able to recognize you. If you’re having trouble locating a shirt, maybe see if you can find someone from Slayer who has an extra sitting around (one-time drummer Paul Bostaph?).

You’re also going to need gothic cover art that makes a vague statement about nuclear annihilation, worldwide political conspiracy, and environmental destruction. Also, this cover art is going to have to have a skeleton guy but not one of those happy dancing skeleton guys like wussier bands use (Okkervil River). A menacing skeleton guy but, you know, one with a bit of a sense of humor about it. This is the most important step of editing your novel.

Your chapters should then be named after song titles from the album and the prose replaced with guitar tablature (Note: it is not important for you to be able to play the songs yourself [further note: as long as you are wearing a 7-string Ibanez shaped like a lightning bolt over your Clash of the Titans t-shirt). Once that is done, you will need to register your novel/songbook/primary religious text and apply for non-profit status with the government. This will be the most bureaucratic step of editing your novel (LCD Soundsystem).

Then you wait until someone asks you what your book says about getting a divorce or if it has any techno-thriller elements. Make them listen to “Hangar 18” until they know the answer.

Comment / Posted in Davids, Editing, Importantly

Exhibit 6.13

So I’ve been playing around with Goodreads for the last two days and have decided that I’m unwilling to give star ratings. Thankfully, the website has a lot more to offer so I still plan on using it as it’s a cool way to find work. It’s sort of like going to Dusty’s blog only a bunch of people are on it and it actually gets updated.

I came to the realization like this: After giving away some 5 star rankings to books I love yesterday, I found myself tormented on how to dole out stars for books I “only” really liked, or, even worse, didn’t like for very specific and often very subjective reasons. I didn’t feel like I would have the time or the mental acuity to always explain why a book got three stars instead of four, and, more importantly, I’m not really interested in creating a hierarchy of books in the first place.

I suppose I think book criticism should be more than a rating system–or a quid pro quo arrangement–but even then I think I could live with a rating system if I was capable of using it more responsibly than I probably am. Even then, I really don’t know what the stars intend to measure or if I could use them consistently from book to book. The stars go from “didn’t like it” to “it was amazing” and maybe I’m crazy, but I feel like some books are capable of making me feel both ways simultaneously. Sometimes those are the best books, but there’s no room for that in the ranking system so I suppose if I feel that way I’ll just have to write it out. I’m fine with that.

I’d prefer that whoever looks at my list of books sees books that I decided, for whatever reason and with whatever outcome, to spend my time with. There are so many out there, that I guess I see that as endorsement enough. Unlike with movies or albums, I rarely regret my choices when it comes to books because even when I hate something I don’t feel like it was a waste of time or money. It’s hard to let someone know that a book you gave two stars is deeply flawed but still an important or even beautiful book.

So apologies to Haruki Murakami and anyone else I gave 5 stars to yesterday only to cruelly remove them today. It’s not you, Haruki, it’s me.

Comment / Posted in Books, Importantly, Librarians