You Can't Fight At Gettysburg High On Pot.

by Serge Bielanko

Sometimes I just stand there and stare at our books over in the corner. We took them off the shelves and then the shelves fell apart like rice paper. Those ones you get at Kmart only survive being dragged around so long. Then, they crumble into dust. Anyway we took them down so Violet wouldn't get to pawing at a colorful binding and pull the whole damn disaster down on top of her. So, I end up glaring at a whole corner full of books about knee high.

Ever since I was a kid and McDonald's had this giveaway for super-edited special McNerdy editions of The Wizard of Oz and Tom Sawyer and a couple others, I've never been without some gargantuan stacks of paperbacks that I drag through my life with me. From my bedrooms to my Mom's attic to apartments in cities all over the damn place, it was easy to leave trash bags filled with clothes and sneaks out by the curb. But, the books must ride along. On airplanes across the ocean I live in fear of being stuck on some interminable tarmac, in some time-warp of a delay. So, the backpack I stuff under the seat eleven inches in front of me is usually full of candy, scattered good luck charms I need for survival should we plunge into the Atlantic off the Icelandic coast, and like four or five freakin' books where one would be fine. I just never know what mood I might be in when I'm up there speeding across the night galaxy.

I like books. They've helped me learn sure. And relate to the world and all. Blahblahblah. But they also helped me quit smokin' weed. About a hundred pages into The Killer Angels I realized that I had so much THC gumming up my works that I was just lying there under the covers reading the same fucking three sentences over and over again. General Pickett on a Groundhog Day loop, hopping up on his goddamn horse so many times in a row that in all seriousness...the war might've passed him right by had I smoked maybe one or two more bowls. After that, I just said the hell with it. I like books better than grass. And I like getting to the end of a page inside of two hours.

So. Me and Monica have been doing our self-inflicted book club. Here's how that goes.

We order one copy of a book and both read it at the same time. The book gets left on the coffee table or the back of the toilet or somewhere like that. Somewhere easy to find it. Sometimes after she's had it last, I'll see a new crease or ripple in the cover or I'll stumble on a hot sauce smear deep in the story. It pisses me off too. We each have our own book mark: mine is laminated cardboard with an antelope in tall dry grass on it. Monica's is a three inch thick 3-D puffy actual invitation to a baby shower or some shit. It is oversize and just ridiculous. In the spirit of our family there are two constants in our Book Club:

1) We move the other person's bookmark around when reading and then forget what page it was on so we just stick it anywhere back there.

2). We never bother to discuss the book before we've read it. Or while we're reading it. Or when we're finished it.

It's a good club. There's very little bullshit.

Here's some stuff I've been reading. After you skim over it, give me some ideas as to what you've been looking at. Especially if its a novel. That's where my head is at.

SKELLIG by David Almond. A story aimed at a teenage audience, but still. A kid whose baby sister is very ill finds an angel out in his family's dank garage. I thought it was a mesmerizing premise and guess what: it is. There's been a movie made of this I think.

JULIET,NAKED by Nick Hornby. Sometimes I start certain novels and get sucked in fast and just want to eat the pages. I devoured this probably about as fast as a slow-ass reader like me can go. Its a hilarious and somewhat romantic look at the modern world of music fans and their sense of proprietorship with the songs/artists they love. Plus, there is a fantastic glimpse at the dysfunctional side of love.

HOW I BECAME A FAMOUS NOVELIST by Steve Hely. The world of big-selling novels spun on it's ass. Hysterical, spit-your-coffee-out-your-nose funny. Laughed out loud nearly every page. There's a moral too, ironically enough. This fellow writes for 30 Rock now.

AMERICAN WIFE by Curtis Sittenfeld. I am almost done this one so I feel comfortable saying that it is superb. The story of a Presidential First Lady, her true self, and the woman she needs to be to make things work. Based on the life of Laura Bush...who turns out to be a fairly captivating woman. Who knew?

TV wise....we're watching DEADWOOD, you cocksuckers!