You Big, Fat, Fake Smart Person

Speaking of things I collect, I may have mentioned it briefly in the masterpiece entitled How To Live The Best Fake Life You Can Imagine, or several times thereafter, that I collect books.  I don’t read them, as much as I like to give the impression that I do, while underhandedly using them strictly for decorating props.  I understand this is a perplexing and tricky dichotomy considering I’m a writer. But you know how “Those who can’t do, teach?” Well, I also find that “Those who can’t write, read.” You’re welcome to leave me nasty comments in regards to that theory, but wouldn’t you rather go eat a Dilly Bar or something?  Go with the cherry. You’ll thank me.

But seriously, the books are starting to take over my life.


So when I’m selecting books, my focus is on the thickness and color of the cover and how well it will coordinate with the lamp, random flea market suitcase, or bookshelf that it will be sitting on or in the proximity of.  I don’t pay attention to minor details like the title or the content.  I had an epiphany recently that I should start trying to solve all my problems by dissecting different sections of my house and seeing what they reveal about me.  [Go here to see what my freezer had to say. It was shocking, to say the least.] So, we’re moving on to my books.

It’s only fitting that we start with my desk area. It’s where I am sitting right now, talking to you.  It is also where I spend almost all of my meager existence being a hermit, writing and editing with bloodshot eyes, and listening to my nineties playlist while eating very questionable leftovers. Because I can.


Let’s zoom in on the middle cubby. When I actually started reading the titles, I discovered that these books must have been stalking me during the past couple of years.

1. Places to Stay the NightThis eerily, but accurately describes my life from the time span of 2002-2006.  If I could make one minor adjustment it would be “Random Places To Stay The Night While Escaping Your Heroin-Addict British Boyfriend, Overly-Possessive Italian Boyfriend, Or When You Decide To Go To Mexico On A Whim Or When You’re Wandering Around A European City And Refuse To Leave Your Wasted Roommate With Those Inappropriate German Guys.”

2. The Ideal Bride. Oh yes.  I couldn’t think of a better way to describe myself.  On opposite day.

3. To Love Again. And again… and again… and effing again.

4. Five Days In Paris. Please change to “Five Days In Paris Accompanied By: A Hailstorm, A Robbery, The Stomach Flu, Ungodly Frizzy Hair, World’s Meanest People, Mystery Meats Cooked In Too Much Butter, And An Unwanted Proposal.”

5. Ten Poems To Set You Free. UGH. Information that would have been useful to me yesterday!

6. Forbidden Area. Much like a fine art painting or Greek Opera, I’m leaving this one open to interpretation.

Here’s where you’ll actually get to know me: my nightstand.  This is reserved for books that I might pick up once in a while.   I don’t think it should serve as any surprise to you that WIT would be at the top of the stack, comfortably parked next to 50 Boyfriends Worse Than Yours.

46 thoughts on “You Big, Fat, Fake Smart Person

  1. Sadly, I am guilty of doing the same thing with many a book, positioned coyly on a coffee table or under some knick knack as a prop telling the world how utterly fascinating and intellectual I am. The reality is that on any given day I am probably reading about the plight of Jessica Simpson’s weight gain or recent dumping in US Magazine, how to tighten up my abs in Women’s Health or Heath Ledger’s short life in Vanity Fair. I devoted my most recent post to what my car says about me. It isn’t pretty.

    • jen – oh boy. you and me both. what makes it worse is that i HAVE to be up to date on jon gosselin’s new girlfriend cus its my JOB… its an endless cycle of useless information and ridiculousness.

      p.s. heath ledger DID have way too short of a life. don’t even get me started on the Michael jackson coverage lately. “where’s the body?” “no one knows where the body is.”

      Granny. Well, if you don’t mind being me, then I don’t mind being you. I’d say you got the short end of the stick though. hah

      V – SHUT THE FREAK UP! You better not be lying. And um, seriously, that ending scene in cruel intentions has to be one of my all time favorites. ugh, I cannot think of a greater joy in life than a bookshelf/wine bar combo. I heart you. Even though I don’t believe in such a thing.

  2. of course – as kindred spirits – i listened to bittersweet symphony all day yesterday. i worked from home (do a few days a week thank god) and cruel intentions was on tv, so of course i couldn’t get it out of my head. i actually started reading again (took a long hiatus after all my reading i had to do in law school) partially because i bought these gorgeous new bookshelves/wine bar, and needed to fill it up. while they’re great decoration, and i can’t stand dust jackets that ruin the effect of the binding look on my shelves, i have actually read most of them. but i can’t write, unless you’re looking for a legal brief, which no one wants to read. so rock on. no mean messages here.

  3. also with you on jen lancaster – i know you’re in the suburbs, but you have to come in if she and others like her do this witty women writers reading thing again. it’s at a book/wine/coffee place – awesome.

  4. I don’t read (I own less than 10 books total), and I barely write (see: blog), so what does that say about me? Is there a third option?

    And let’s be honest, you really started blogging while you were still working but absolutely everything in your life was super insane crazy. (If that isn’t an understatement, I don’t know what is.)

    Really though Brit, you have too many books. They’re detrimental to your health. I once heard they gave a straight man the HIV, and that’s just not cool. These kinds of things are real threats, kind of like global warming.

    • BRANDON – you always exist in your own option. and in regards to my other “blogs” I’d say those were more unconscious ramblings than they were comprehensible thoughts. And I KNOW i have too many books. Didn’t you see me admitting my problem? i totally came clean.

      Yorks – Yea, that book is good. its just a collection of memoir essays. kind of like what i’d like to have someday. And as far as the “professional” looking pics… well spank you. Honestly, I paid no attention while taking these, or any others on this blog… but I do have a professional camera because photography is my side hobby / business. New blog soon to come with all things photography related! yay!

      candice – as with most statements on this blog, that was rather exaggerated for shock value. Of course, i believe reading can definitely help you as a writer. Although sometimes, i feel it can influence people a bit too much in their style. What i like to do is see how people manage to weave together cohesive thoughts into a book form, cus man, it seems like an insurrmountable task if you ask me.

  5. I admit I do much of the same. So many pretty books around the house, but rarely opened. I want that book “I Was Told There’d Be Cake”. Sounds like my kind of reading.

  6. god it’s sickening how excited i get about books. but i disagree with your comment about those who can’t write, read. i get inspired by reading, and my writing usually improves as though i pick up style habits or something. so maybe that means i’m not original. and maybe i’m a lousy writer.

    anyway, i dig your style. you got class.

  7. As you say, the true way to tell what a person reads is not by looking at the bookshelves, but at what’s stacked by their bedside. However, the fact that you have your clock on top of all of them says… well, it says something. I’m just not sure what.

    • suldog – you are so, so profound.

      linlah – oh man, i have so many. pretty. journals. I can’t stop buying them.

      mr. c – what is it with all my commentors having so many stashes of empty journals? why do we all like to hoard things and not use them? why are we all lazy?

  8. I was thinking last night that if I read more I might be a better writer but that would require me to leave the house and buy a book. I also have a gazillion journals with only a few pages of writing and it’s all crap but the covers are pretty.

  9. Dear Evil Twin Bitch,

    Oh how I’ve missed you so! I firmly believe that you must use everything in your arsenal in order to decieve people. otherwise life just isn’t worth it.

    And apparently you’ve brought back the phrase opposite day. I am so happy that it has been unearthed from the Pee Wee Herman archives.

    Lovingly Crafted,


    • Dear Everything I’ve Always Been Looking For In Another Human,

      I brought it. And I’ll continue to bring it. When least expected.

      And you can count on that, lover.

      Until we meet again in a dark alley,


  10. I have a similar though much less esteemed habit- of collecting though rarely actually reading magazines. i have years of piles of magazines, many of which were not even flipped through. I just like to have them around to make it look like I have been following these publications forever. Not one person has been impressed by my archives though…

    • kevo – OH, don’t worry. I have the magazines too. And now to add to that, ones I never subscribed to. And my mom has started bringing me over all of hers when she’s done reading them. It’s a hot mess over here.

      Bearman – WTF. Um, no. Please return when you have expended all your lame excuses.

      mmclaughlin- well spank you. i’ve noticed quite a few of you guys took a liking to my wall color. Um, yea, i’m glad I didn’t have your parents cus I’d be so, so broke. Wait, no i wouldn’t, cus i don’t read them. If I should require actually reading a book, for educational purposes, I’ll sit at barnes and noble and read it for free. The only things I buy are the useless ones with random titles that I never open. How jacked up am i.

  11. I have always done the exact same thing when it comes to journals. I love to write as well, but I lack followthrough. tragic.
    However, I do read anything and everything, and I collect books, but I’ve read them all. :o) My quirk is that I don’t like to read books unless I own them – which is not very practical from an economical standpoint, but it’s my thing and according to my parents, I’ve always been that way.

    btw – love the colors in the rooms in the pictures, as well as the cubby shelf!

  12. Ah yes, I have the eternal nightstand bookstack myself. The problem is, I’m addicted to Barnes and Noble like a crack addict is addicted to, well, crack. I always seem to buy “just one more” book and add it to the pile.

    • chris – I used to be a barnes whore myself, but now that I’m slightly more broke, I hit up the sal. army. Considering I only care about the covers at this point, I’m okay paying .10 per book. However, the “cool” funny ones or the photography ones I have to splurge on a bit more. I could seriously do nothing but buy books.

      MVD – THATS what i’m talking about. Seriously. If I made ONE mistake, the whole page was ruined. Also, if I’d start writing and my penmanship didn’t exactly match my penmanship from previous days… that wouldn’t work either. Then I’d tear out so many pages that it was obvious, so I’d have to retire the whole journal. Then there came the “pen buying stage” where I’d have to find just the right pen that made my writing look cooler. UGH.

      You love my cubbies. You can’t help it. And I don’t blame you. I’m extremely well organized. When it comes to home decor or office supplies. However, when it comes to my thought process or logic… that generalization does not apply

  13. “I’d get frustrated with either my handwriting…”

    I hate admitting this (but what the hell, we’re in blogland anyway), I’m a complete FREAK when it comes to my penmanship. I’ve actually torn pages out of school notebooks and rewritten because, clearly, I need psychotherapy, or electroshock treatment, or an intense flogging, or an erasable pen (remember those?).

    Those bookshelf cubbie holes are just so … so … so “put together.” It’s both sickening yet impressive at the same time. Just knowing that EVERY object has been positioned according to some rule brings a smile to my lips.

    Jeez, by the way this reads, you’d think I was an OCD recluse with socially retarded tendencies. I’m pretty well adjusted, unless we’re talking penmanship…

  14. OMG this is hilarious! As usual, perfectly executed. If I woke up and saw “50 boyfriends worse than yours” on my nightstand under my alarm clock I’d smile on a good day and smack the crap out of snooze on bad one. When it comes to your decor, it’s all in the exterior details and not about the interior of the books.
    Your use of that particular photo is especially descripive. 😉 It matters not if you read the actual book. Who does that? And why would I want to when you’re telling a very visual story, all your own. Either that or your house is stalking me. 😉 Wait a minute that’s not why I feel so comfortable there, is it ? Eerie…

    • Oh yes JO, sorry i outed you on my blog like that. It is a pretty cute pic of us. I coordinated the books below it with the colors in the pic, cus I’m a freak. I suppose those books could be descriptive of BOTH our lives…eh.

      Theresa – well THANKS pretty lady. I’m noticing thats a trend. I’ll have to write a blog about my living room walls now, cus that’s a story in itself. of course.

  15. I know we’re talking books here, but I love love love the color of your walls. Mine are just a creamy puke-like pink. Now, back to books, really interesting compilation of titles. We have four medium to large book shelves and every one of them is a mess. I must have anti-ocd. Great post!

  16. i can only wish that essence would start showing up at my house. i’d actually read a big chunk of that. i honestly can’t remember the last time i got past the cover of a flaunt or iD or even wallpaper for that matter. and yet there are three huge piles of them on my book(magazine) shelves. sigh.

    • kevo – again, at least your mother doesn’t bring u piles of country living. okay?

      bearman – sukoku is like, my arch nemesis.

      Dear Most Amazing Sight I’ve ever Laid Eyes On,

      Please help the cupcakes to at least have some sort of whipped topping. I hate that frosting in a can crap.


  17. Please excuse my previous outburst and lame excuses. I am better now. I have about 4 books on my nightstand. Sudoku, some paperback, a book about the Underground Railroad, and Uncle Johns Big Bathroom Reader.

  18. Dearest Piece of My Blackened-Out Husk of My Soul,

    The Cupcakes are in the mail. Although, I don’t recommend eating them. Given the last person who did… well, I am under legal obligation to keep their condition a secret.



    • mvd – i can always, i mean always count on you to appreciate the subtleties (how the crap do you spell that?) in life.

      george – i’m sorry, WHAT did you just say? That made no freaking sense.

      Ronnica – hhaha! yes, tis the window to the soul.

  19. btw, Brit, the description of yourself as a former “barnes whore” is hilarious. Of course, it’s better than being a “barn whore” which is, well, a bit risque … even for this site.

  20. I’m trying to figure out whether you’re a woman who tells me the truth by lying to me or if you lie to me by telling me the truth. Either way, you’re cool wit’ me.

    Oh, and how can they call Redbook a magazine? Jus’ wonderin’….

  21. I used to be able to say that I’ve read every book that I own. Can’t say so anymore though, I’ve bought dozens and dozens of books on Mother’s Day weekend at a book sale, haven’t read any of them yet. In fact, I can’t even get interested in reading since then 🙁 Guess I’m doing too much writing in my blog…lol. I’ve always been an avid reader though, spending upwards of 12 hours sometimes even 20 in any given day reading! And yep, when I wasn’t reading, I’d be writing something! So what does that say about your “those who read can’t write”!?! jk, I’ve never had anything published, nor do I have any interest in being a paid writer…lol.

  22. I’m not sure what this all says about you except that you have a keen eye for color nice neat piles…….as well as your talent for writing.

    But!……you might consider switching the books off for some new titles if you should ever get writer block. 🙂

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