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Gina Barreca

Gina Barreca

Posted: December 14, 2010 01:50 PM

These are thrilling days for holiday book-givers. Why, this lovely publication itself told us only recently that we're buying up books as fast as if we were being told by QVC that there were only sixteen left at this price and that once they were gone, they'd be gone.

Of course, that's probably true about books -- once they're all Kindled or Nooked or Droided or whatever other vaguely sexually-molesty-kind of word can be applied to automated reading -- they'll be gone all right. Never to return in a "snows of yesteryear" or in an extinct Przewalski's Horse kind of way, depending on your choice of analogies.

But, according to the Huffington Post's "What We're Buying This Christmas," we've also learned that any book with the word "pursuit" in the title is bound to hit the bestseller list, and that the letters and early writings of dead white men still sell.

Wow, am I relieved!

Just kidding -- sort of! But, seriously, it is great to give books as gifts. We should especially sweep up new titles by living authors, since somebody should be able to make a dime in this business.

And you know why, right? Because the alternative is that we'll be left reading only those books cranked out by self-published authors. Sure, some self-published authors are terrific and I am quite, quite sure I'll be able to think of a name very soon. But too many of them are simply folks who can afford to have their thoughts typeset even when they cannot write what is called a "Sentence."

Thinking about bad books by authors who can't write is what got me started; I began wondering about exactly what titles might not be moving off the shelves this season.

I offer, therefore, a few thoughts concerning those orphaned (but not Orhan Pamuk) -- and wholly imaginary -- volumes below in Gina's List of Books We're Not Buying This Christmas:

  • The Crying Woman's Guide to Handgun Safety
  • Eat, Purge, Love: A Model's Guide to Travel and Happiness
  • The Joy of Zoning Laws: A Sensuous Guide to The Built Environment
  • Fill Your Life By Digging Your Own Moat
  • This Old Fart: A Guide to Renovating Your Long Term Partnership
  • I Feel Bad About My Scrotum
  • Lose Your Shirt but Save Your Ass! A Guide To Fitness During The Recession
  • Dr. Smirnoff's Guide to Operating Heavy Machinery
  • A Mistress at Christmas: A Holiday Story for-Oh, Sorry, I Need to Take This Call...
  • Guaranteed Tricks for Making A Good Confession
  • Feckless!
  • Self Deception and You
  • The Blithely Unconcerned: How to Achieve Happiness By Sticking Your Fingers in Your Ears
  • Gambling Your Tuition: An Undergraduate's Guide
  • Fun With Moccasins
  • Puppies and Espresso: What To Give Your Stepchildren Before They Return Home
  • Inuit Intuition: An Eskimo Shaman Teaches You How To Unfreeze Your Emotional Igloo
  • How To Find Love on a Bus
  • What CEOs Know That You Don't, or How to Inherit Wealth and Forge Business Relationships Through Prep School Connections
  • The Duct Tape Diet
  • How to Find a Feeble Man: Help for the Woman Who Has Given Up
  • Absolutism: The Philosophy of Vodka
  • The Invisalign Romance: Dentists Cavort on the Beach (23rd in the "Invisalign Series")
  • The Idiot's Guide to Refrigerator Magnets
  • The American Boy Book of First Mandate Stories
  • 5 Ways to Have Fun as an Absentee Landlord
  • How to Convince Yourself You're in Love, When You're Not
  • How To Dress Like a Long Island Parking Lot Attendant (11-4 Shift)
  • Only God Can Make Topiary: Inspiration by (or in) the Yard
  • Viagra: A Pop-Up Book!* (Not appropriate for readers under 50 or those without insurance)
  • Wax Your Way to Happiness
  • The Tragedy of Color Blindness: One Man's Nightmarish Descent into Conflicting Plaids (illustrated)
  • Right Turns Only: A Guide to Washington
  • The Enema of Enlightenment
  • Virginia Werewolf: The Blood Curse of Bloomsburg
  • Lulu, the Anxious Last Lobster in the Big Sad Tank* (Not appropriate for readers with seafood allergies unless they have insurance)
  • How to Make Your Book a Bestseller With a Major Publishing House: By Somebody Who Has Never Written Anything

Okay, so I might still be tempted to purchase this last title, even though I know better.

Isn't the holiday season all about nurturing a sense of optimism even when common sense tells you to abandon hope? And isn't publishing about the same thing?