How to get people to read the books you love, using science. Sexy, sexy science.
Did you ever love a book? I mean, LO-HU-HUVE a book. So, so much. Like, you read that book, and you kind of wanted to make out with it, when you were done. You wanted to find the author and give him or her a big old sloppy kiss for creating that world for you. You wished the characters were real so you could meet them for margaritas and nachos and talk about your LIVES and your HEARTBREAKS and your TROUBLES and laugh until your sides were sore. You finished that book, and you kind of didn’t want to start another book, because it felt like cheating, and it felt like breaking the spell. Maybe you hoover up all the other books the author wrote, if he or she wrote others. Ever have that happen? I bet you have. You’re all the bookish sort.
What did you do next, once you’d finished the book, or all the books by that author? Well, you might have done a million things, I don’t know your life, but one of the things I bet you did do is to try to get other people to read it (or them, if it’s an author you fell in love with.)
How’d you do it? Anything like this?
You: OMGGGG, Jenny! Do you know about Gillian Flynn? She’s only the best author EVER EVER EVER.
Jenny: No, I’ve never heard of her. What kind of books does she write?
You: Ugh, only the BEST BOOKS EVER, Jenny! They’re kind of thrillers, very intelligent, very dark and twisted.
Jenny: Oh, huh. I don’t know if that sounds like my thing.
You: COME ON JENNY! YOU WOULD LOVE HER!
Jenny: Um. Maybe I’ll give her a try sometime.
You: I’ll bring you ALL HER BOOKS next time I see you! And we can discuss ALL OF THEM! THIS WILL BE GREAT!
And you bring Jenny those books, and Jenny looks vaguely green around the gills but somehow you don’t notice that, and then the next time you see Jenny (why isn’t she returning your texts? huh, weird) you ask her how she’s enjoying the books, and she’s like, “oh, been busy, haven’t had much of a chance” and then you ask AGAIN a little while LATER and she STILL hasn’t read them and it crosses you mind that, oh, hey, OH, maybe she’s not going to read those. WHY WON’T SHE READ THEM? THEY ARE AWESOME.
Well, I don’t want to cast any aspersions, but you might have gone about this the wrong way.
But Amy! I can hear you asking. These books are amazing! How can I get my friends to read them? They would love them!
Sure. They might love them. You’re completely right. And don’t you fret! There’s a way to get them to read them. Of course there is.
It’s called Sneaky Fuckerism. And it’s about SCIENCE.
A little background: Sneaky Fuckerism is a scientific term that’s actually used, in science (no, seriously, who told you science isn’t awesome? They were WRONG) and it is this: less-attractive and slower members of the animal community would normally have trouble reproducing. But they still do. How? They sneaky-fucker their way in there. When the bigger, badder, faster, hotter animals are fighting amongst themselves to be the ones to mate with the ladies, the sneaky fucker animals slink on over and mate with the ladies. The fighty alpha-males are busy, so they don’t notice. Then whoever wins the fighty-fight mates with the female – who is most likely already pregnant by the sneaky fucker. Then the babies are raised and tended to by the mom and the dad, who thinks they’re his – but they’re not. And the sneaky fucker lives to sneaky fuck another day, his genetic material firmly in place. For further information on sneaky fuckerism, please to visit my blog, where we had a full Sneaky Fucker Week a while back, and it was AWESOME.
But AMY! How can sneaky fuckerism, a very important scientific theory to be sure, help me in my quest to assure people read awesome books?
Oh, sneaky fuckerism can help. Can it ever.
So let’s go back to our Jenny scenario above. You really want Jenny to read these books, right? You think Jenny will love them? You think Jenny’s life will be so much better and richer and fuller if she read them? Well, babe, you gotta finesse that shit. You gotta sneaky fuck your way right on in there.
First, you have to wait until it’s organic. Throwing in book recommendations all willy-nilly like an overeager beaver makes you look desperate. Do you really want that? No, no one wants to look like the first girl at the dance. That girl always looked all desperate and sad and needy.
Let’s pretend that it came up in conversation, just for argument’s sake.
Jenny: I was just reading King’s latest book. Did you read that one?
You: Oh, yeah, I really liked it. I know a lot of people didn’t, but I found it really thought-provoking.
Jenny: What are you reading now?
You: Just started a volume of poetry I’m really excited about, but I finished this book I loved yesterday. So amazing.
Jenny: Oh? What was it?
You: Swamplandia, by Karen Russell. Did pretty well – one of the finalists for the Pulitzer last year.
Jenny: What’s it about?
You: A family that runs a down-on-its-luck tourist attraction in Florida. It’s surprisingly dark, though. Also very poetic, very beautifully written.
Jenny: Really? Huh. Sounds interesting. I should check it out.
You: I know they have it at the library, but I’ve got a copy at home if you don’t want to wait for the reserve. Let me know!
What did you do RIGHT here?
- You waited until it came up in conversation; you didn’t just plop it on her lap like a dead elephant.
- You didn’t use SHOUTY ALL-CAPS to show how excited you were. You were a LADY. (Or a man, I don’t know your gender and I LOVE YOU ALL.)
- You were SUAVE about it. You snuck it in all off-the-cuff like. “Oh, I almost forgot about the book I just finished, silly ol’ me.”
- You put in the important bits: you loved it, it almost won a Pulitzer (side note: in this author’s humble opinion, it should have, ahem, silly, non-decision-making Pulitzer committee) and it’s well-written, dark, and poetic. You know she likes dark; she mentioned King. It’s always best to sneaky-fuck where there is precedent. If you don’t know she’s ever read a romance, don’t try to sneaky-fuck her a Maeve Binchy. (Also, don’t even do that anyway, ew, come on.)
- You offered it, but you didn’t push. Pushing is never sexy. Pushing is what the alpha males do. And what do the alpha males also do? Raise the babies of the sneaky fuckers. Do you want to unknowingly raise a sneaky-fucker-baby? Well, do you?
- Additionally: I JUST SNEAKY-FUCKED ALL OF YOU. Because now you all want to read Swamplandia, don’t you? KAPOW! You been sneaky-fucked! I KNOW! I’m very good at this.
Will Jenny read it? Not sure. You’ve done your part. You can’t MAKE someone read something. But the odds are a LOT more in your favor than they were when you were all JENNY JENNY JENNY READ THIS READ THIS JENNYYYYYYYYY! Plus, Jenny will still be your friend when you leave the interaction. That’s a win, right? Well, assuming Jenny’s not a jerk. I don’t know Jenny. I’m going to assume she’s not a jerk. Why would you be hanging out with a jerk?
In summation: sneaky fuckerism. A sexy scientific theory you can use in all aspects of your life. Nothing sexier than science, ladies and gentleman. Nothing at all. Go forth and sneaky-fucker the world into making better literary choices. You’re welcome.