Monday, April 2, 2007

Tools For Serious Readers, Eh?

OK, so this is where I am supposed to say how loathsome the Levenger catalog is. And, all right, I'm saying it. It's loathsome.

But wow, that doesn't feel too good. It's true that this catalog of reading and writing accoutrements represents the complete capitulation of the literary impulse to vulgar materialism. Take for instance this paragraph, an introduction to the "Reading Tools" section of the Levenger website:

Make your reading more enjoyable by using a book holder, bookmark, or book weight designed with you in mind. Display your favorite novels with one of our unique bookends. Shop our collection of useful reading accessories including magnifiers, clips and cutters, and products designed for reading in bed.

"Display your favorite novels?" Ew. So that's what it's all about, eh, proving to your friends that you enjoy the finer things in life, like say the latest Nora Roberts or Christopher Hitchens. Ay caramba. And "products designed for reading in bed." These turn out to include the "Laplander" lap desk, the "Laplighter" clip-on lamp, a two-hundred-dollar cashmere blanket, electric lights that look like candles (sort of), a two-hundred-dollar bed tray, and, I shit you not, a $250 reading lamp. To look at this page is to imagine oneself nearly crowded out of bed by one's possessions, like a three-year-old with his stuffed animals.

Except that, you know, some of it looks kinda cool. Especially those blankets. Wow. Curled up under one of those babies with some serial killer novel propped up on my chest...ooh yeah!

Because, disgusting as it is to think of reading as a kind of is. Especially the reading of fiction, which brings you so deeply into the lives of others--more deeply than you can ever get into anyone real, anyone whom you actually know, including your spouse, or your kids. Novels let you read minds.

And writing the things is worse still--getting into people's heads, and then making them think things. Evil things. Crazy things, sexy things. You writers know what I'm talking about--there is something...stirring about fiction writing. One is prone to bouts of sudden and disturbing arousal. At least I am.

Did I just admit that?

So look here, if I feel the need to get it on, or make some people I made up get it on, while sitting in a Leather Freedom Desk Chair W/Neck Support (Classic) to the tune of $1,448, and if you happen to have a problem with just don't get it, man. I'm a serious reader.


Matthew Tiffany said...

I'm always vaguely excited to get a Levenger catalog in the mail, and by the time I've flipped through it, I'm completely disgusted, and remain so until enough time passes (they seem to know just how long to wait) and I've got another one in the mail. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Wing said...

Is it possible that this catalog is mostly for really rich geriatric and quadraplegic rap stars? Yeah, doesn't feel so good to make fun of their source of joy now, does it?

McQ said...

I rarely even make it all the way to the disturbed/disgusted phase anymore. It's pure writer porn, and I cannot resist leering over every page, every time it hits the mailbox, no matter how often that is.

Have I simply become desensitized to the materialistic horror? I suppose I must admit it, as there is Levenger lust in my writerly heart. Big time. Lend me that cashmere throw when you're done, would you?