Books as entertainment
I asked my best friend what he thought went between the cover of books, he looked at me, annoyed I had the audacity to ask (he never reads), then said, “Some dick’s thoughts.”
Figuratively, sure, he doesn’t haven’t to be wrong, but I bet he had no idea he was literally right. The beauty of books is that the author chooses everything that goes into them; the beauty of being an author is that anyone can do it. And so we return to the dick talk.
I was 9 years old in 2004, a voracious but safe-space reader that only ventured from preferred genres if school work or necessity (me running out of things to read) demanded it. So one day I don’t have anything to do, as a younger brother the obvious answer occurs to me; sneak into my older sister’s room. I sprint out with the first book I find because getting caught was definitely scarier than boredom.
I didn’t know but on the cover was a drummer, I didn’t know but reading his biography would turn me on the knowledge that, when writing a book, the only rules are those that the writer(s) wish to establish; I’d grabbed Tommyland, the biography of Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee. The author Anthony Bozza, or his editors or the publishing house or someone else, had the brilliant idea to include two selves in the book: a normal font to depict the rock star’s thoughts and a jagged, forged from chaos looking style to communicate the messages from his other head.
The whole book is Tommy talking to himself, readers, and his dick; there’s less of a fourth-wall than in the shitty Deadpool movie and I fucking loved it.
9 year old, pre-pubescent me, got the arrangement; at the time sex was nothing more than a 3 letter sequence that my eyes skipped over but there I was reading words credited to one of the most infamous nymphomaniacs in American history like gospel. I’ve been meaning to reread it since, the specifics escape me now, but just thinking of the book sends echoes of enlightenment, humor, and entertainment through my brain.
I can think of other (not many) books, writers that give me the same sort of feeling: Douglass Adams’ Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series, anything that Oscar Wilde spent time on…it is more than possible for literature to fulfill its artistic purpose while simultaneously entertaining, even if a book is just “some dick’s thoughts.”