I have a friend who stores her books in teetering stacks on the floor. They’re usually ripped, dog-eared, and deeply scarred. The way she likes them. When we lived in the same time zone, I would relish the time I spent digging through the pile. Pulling the most worn titles as they seemed like the most coveted.
It was in these stacks that I discovered Octavia Butler’s Kindred. And that I passed over Hitchhiker’s more than once before asking her to page through the book replacing any reference to individual spacecraft with the word ‘car’ or, if larger means of spacial transportation was being used: ‘bus’ She refused and I read it anyway. I loved it.
Her impending birthday left me with the excruciating task of finding more books for her to play literary Jenga. After a recommendation from a tan-jacketed actor, I feel like I’ve discovered the perfect books.
And now the fun begins.
Not simply satisfied with birthday wrap and a bow, I feel that the act of gift giving should go beyond the physical interaction of passing the present and tearing the paper, so I sent her this picture of a review from the back of one of the books.
It was only after I sent it, partially hidden to remove incriminating statements as to the identity, that I realized how much the portioned description encompassed our friendship.
Consider the idea of reviews on book jackets. The negative are relegated to star-rated columns, but the best of what is being said is boldly printed for immediate judgment.
I propose that we start doing the same for people. The nicest thing that anyone has ever said about them is tattooed down the nape of their neck, possible the breadth of their shoulders if the review is pretentiously wordy. This way we enter our interactions the way we begin reading a book. We’ve scanned the visible for an immediate impression and now garnered the best parts from one persons’ subjective critique.
The best part about this new movement, beyond the sociological connotations is that it’s easily marketable. Literary-themed tattoos. Encouraged judgment. Egocentricity. As soon as this takes off in Portland, we’ll spread to Seattle, Austin, San Francisco.
With this new proposal in mind, I started pulling books from my shelves. My discoveries were astounding. First, I own an incredible amount of books that I have yet to read, but refuse to stop purchasing more. And secondly, people have already written book reviews about people I know.
So, go to your bookshelves, find your friends in reviews, and then start to send tattoo suggestions ransom note style. The ability to convince one of applying permanence to these reviews may hinge on an inherent need to share views non-verbally, so start with friends comfortable with revealing opinions on t-shirts or the ass of their yoga pants.
Who’d you find on your shelves? Share your reviews. So we can all judge with you.