Saturday, March 28, 2009

Vegetables...Vegetables... and a Prize Winning Book Title

At a conference during my days at LA Tech, some friends and I found ourselves with some extra time at the hotel, and it was at that moment that my eyes were opened to The Vegetable Game. Completely sober I must say, we gathered in a circle to learn the intricate details of the game: wrap your lips around your teeth as if you were talking like an older person who left their dentures by the bathroom sink, choose a catchy vegetable name, and proceed to call each other out to the tune of "Carrots, carrots, calling all squash." Whoever deemed himself or herself squash then responds immediately with something like "Squash, squash, calling all asparagus tips."
Before beginning you must first, after thoughtful consideration of course, designate your vegetable nomenclature.

And it begins. We go around the circle. Corn--taken. Potato--taken. Carrots--taken. The round is approaching, and I am a bit nervous as I cannot make decisions. My dear friend Mary is standing next to me and calls herself Broccoli. Keep in mind, this ball of laughs is going down with no chemical enhancement. Determined to pick a great vegetable yet worried about the lack of time to prepare for such a choice, I shout out, "Cheese!"

Cheese? Seriously CC?

My friends erupted into fits of laughter and to this day I cannot hear broccoli without wanting to curl my lips around my teeth and shout out, "Cheese!" simply to laugh at myself.

What does this have to do with books? Apparently my love of cheese trumped my love of vegetables in a type of Foodie Freudian slip in Shreveport, LA.
Would my love of a good title override my best judgment in choosing a good read, even one touting promise of profound statements on the world of cheese?
Probably not.
I'm pretty confident in my discriminate judgments while perusing the shelves of my local half price book store or cruising Amazon's library. My pile of books to be read is tall enough that I don't even make this shopping trip, virtual or real, very often. Somehow, the stack's height doesn't change. Perhaps I buy more books than I think. What I do know is that I choose my purchases primarily based on friend suggestions and occasionally on media hype. I selected my current read, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, not based on Oprah's pick, but upon reading its acclaim in the Sunday paper's all-things-art-related insert. Actually, I discovered it pre-Oprah and was quite upset when she named it her book club read.

From wherever the birth of the phrase "once in a blue moon" stems, so does my rare instance of browsing through the shelves and actually selecting and purchasing a literary escape because of its name, even after reading the back cover. In fact, thinking about the last two years' worth of reading, I cannot find a title chosen this way. At the very least, the cover's font and imagery might draw me in, but title alone--hasn't cut it.

Despite my book-buying habits, choosing a book title may or may not sell your work, but if nothing else, it win a unique award.

Philip M. Parker rose to the challenge in winning 2008's oddest book title, a contest with its origins at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 1978. I will not be purchasing this winning "gem" for two reasons: A)It costs a whopping $795.00 (in paperback!)
This stands correct. I did not misplace the decimal.
B) A girl loves her cheese, but seriously, I don't even know how many pages, AKA hours of my free time, this read entails and am not willing to dedicate the time, even if I could afford it, to a book I know nothing about.

Parker 's The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais it is!
Fromage Frais, French for "fresh cheese"--Will it be an extended metaphor for an examination of our global economy? Does the story follow a small-town French cheesemaker along the gripping journey of the cheese business? Is there a cartoon mouse involved? Save your paychecks kids, and let me know.

A personal favorite of the group of runners-up including titles such as Baboon Metaphysics and Curbside Consultation of the Colon, Strip and Knit with Style yells "Winner, winner, chicken dinner!" Before reviewing its listing, I can't help but ponder the possibilities for such a title and would certainly find a book providing a how-to guide for both "hobbies" inside the same cover quite humorous. Oh, don't chastise me for going there. You know you jumped into the gutter as well. No, no, my friends, this is about sewing.

Cheese, baboons, consulting with a colon (organ not punctuation mark), stripping and knitting might sure raise an eyebrow, yet are they intriguing enough for my purchasing? Hardly. And an that cost--negative Ghost Rider, the shelf is full.

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