Posted by: loripalooza | January 27, 2008

Then We Came to the End: Enticing others to read

Here’s how it goes:  I’m sitting in the cozy-chair, you know, the one you can sit in and stare out the window pondering over life’s big questions (or wonder why the neighbor doesn’t clean the graffiti off their truck -I mean doesn’t it bother them?), or lounge sideways in with my legs draped over one arm, head cradled on the other, and I’m reading my latest book, in this case, Joshua Ferris’ Then We Came to the End, a fun book about life in a big, gossipy office. The other members of the household are going about their business, say, brewing a batch of beer, or walking through the room to get a snack before going back to settle in front of the TV watching some ultimate fighting show I don’t really understand. (Why aren’t they wearing gloves? They can kick there?)  I start piquing their interest (and you have to know this whole process of enticing is pretty much unconscious; people are just naturally curious to be in-the-know)  by laughing out loud, if it genuinely makes me laugh, or letting out an incredulous “whoa!”  which really gets them, like when you’re talking on the phone and they only hear your end of the conversation and they’re just dying to hear what you were talking about when you hang up. (“What? Oh I don’t know, nothing.” or “A week before Christmas Aunt Brenda had this pain in her stomach and finally decided she needed to go the doctor and they found…..size of a watermelon…”)

What I do next is pose a seemingly random question, but in direct reference to the book, of course,  like “Do you think you could do your job for one entire day without touching a keyboard or a mouse?”  The most likeable character in Then We Came to the End, Benny, does achieve this in a creative and humorous way, although after some debate my household does not believe it would be possible in reality.  Another query I had while reading this book was “If someone shot you with a paintball-gun, in say, an office setting, would you be able to tell if it was a real gun?  Would you be scared?”   This question was flatly dismissed and shrugged off in a rather masculine way by both of the (male) members of family, until I elaborated a bit with the fact that the paintball-gun wielder was dressed as a clown, and maybe was a bit disgruntled….

The last tidbit I threw out to finally push them over the edge and say “What book are you reading?”  a sure indication they were interested and wanted to read it soon, is when I tell them this one character, Benny again, has become aware of a phenomenon that mostly happens at work, where “one person would say something and the person listening would have positively no idea what he or she meant, but not wanting to appear rude, or worse, dense, or alternatively, not caring to waste any more time, it was easier just to nod or laugh along than it was to pause and inquire what that person really meant.”  Benny responds to this realization by answering to all his co-workers one day with quotes from The Godfather….

I’ve finished the book now, and have picked up another in the stack of borrowed books I have (another post on this subject to follow sometime soon). We’ll see if this next one will move me to lure others to be next in line to read it.

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