Have You Read This Before?

Today is my lucky day. Not only did May Gray come back, killing the 90 degrees at 8 AM craziness that's been frying my brain over the past week, I also got tagged by Joy over at The Sweeter the Juice. This meme is book related and the rules are:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

The problem is that there are several books around me that are equidistant to my hand. Wait, let me count for accuracy so that you know exactly how many books. Counting, counting... there are nine books that I could pick up off of my coffee table.

Yes, I know, that's a lot of books. But, in my house, there are books everywhere. When my sister was visiting, she got a total kick out of teasing me over how many bookcases I have.

So which book should I reveal?

Hmm... I know some of you are literary snobs so you're going to say, "She reads what???"

I know how it goes. It's like when you ride on the subway and you spy on what folks are reading, and then you make total judgments about them based on their book choices. For example, you arrive at one particular set of conclusions if someone is reading this:

And you arrive at another set of conclusions if you see someone reading this:

It also reminds me of the time I was at a work conference in DC and a colleague from New York was all, "You've never read Zane before?"

No, I hadn't, so this colleague helpfully gave me her Zane book as we said goodbye at Dulles Airport. She promised I'd looove it because it was a real "action-packed" pager turner. It was titled "Addicted" so I figured it was about drug addiction. Or maybe shopping addiction. There wasn't much on the back cover and I didn't have time to leaf through it, so I quickly stuck it in my briefcase and rushed to my gate.

On the plane I was in the window seat next to an older African-American couple that was sitting in the center seat and the aisle. Once we'd taken off, both husband and wife pulled out their Bibles. The wife asked me, "Are you a Christian?"

"Um, no ma'am. I'm not." Crickets were chirping at this point so I helpfully added, "But I do read the Bible sometimes."

She smiled politely and got back to perusing the Good Book. I decided to get my book out too. I was excited to check out what Zane was about so I dug in my briefcase and pulled out this:

I felt Wifey's eyes checking out the cover and, trying to make small talk, I asked, "Have you read this before?"

She was quick to say no. Suddenly it seemed like she was sitting a bit more stiffly than before but I figured she might just be hating the super uncomfortable middle seat. Or at least, I thought that till I started reading. That's when I discovered that the addiction in "Addicted" is, wait for it -- sex addiction.

The main character goes buckwild and develops nymphomania.

I wanted to say to the wife sitting next to me, "Honest! I had no idea! It's not even my book!" But it was too late. She was giving me the serious side eye so there was nothing to do but tuck the book back in my bag and go to sleep. I'm telling you, if that woman had had a bucket of holy water, I'm sure she would've turned it upside down on my head. I was sooo embarrassed that I probably would've helped her!

Oh, and later on after I'd shared this horrifyingly embarrassing incident with a friend, I found out that the author Zane is known for writing, ahem, erotica. I still can't believe I asked a church lady if she read erotica.

Anyway, crazy erotic airplane/book stories aside, let me pick the The Autobiography of Malcolm X off my coffee table for this book meme. I pulled it out yesterday since May 19th is El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz's birthday. He would have been 83 years old this year.

Now, according to the meme rules, I need to turn to page 123 and go to the 5th sentence. Here we go:
"In all of my time in Harlem, I never saw a white prostitute touched by a white man. White girls were in some of the various Harlem specialty places. They would participate in customers' most frequent exhibition requests --a sleek, black Negro male having a white woman."
Let your mind marinate on that for a moment. Harlem has changed a whole lot since Malcolm was a young man. But is this observation (and the sentiment behind it) still true?

Now I get the fun task of tagging five lucky people with this meme. I'm going to pick:
1) Kari at If I Only Had a Blog
2) Miriam at Black Fire White Fire
3) Shelly at Boring Black Chick
4) Anali at Anali's First Amendment
5) Jen at A2EatWrite

I hope you five have a wonderful time choosing which book to share with the rest of us!


I just re-read Malcolm X and will post about it at some point. It's one of my favorite books.

Addicted is not. I had to read it for work. Seriously. I can't believe people think this is a good book.

Suzanne DePasse is producing the film version at Lions Gate. I can't wait to see who is going to star in this movie. Lions Gate is the same company who distributes Tyler Perry's movies.
Liz Dwyer said…
It's one of my favorite books too. And as for Zane, she's a horrible writer! It's just so bad that after a certain point, it becomes comedy. And, after reading a few pages I couldn't believe that this was at the top of the Essence best seller lists!

As for a movie? Why??? It's the end of the world, isn't it?
Jameil said…
i so don't get the point of this one as many times as i see the meme. read zane in college. book porn. utterly free of a point or plot. horrid. lmao @ "if that woman had had a bucket of holy water, I'm sure she would've turned it upside down on my head. I was sooo embarrassed that I probably would've helped her"!!!!! dying!!!!!!!!!! i loved malcolm's book.
Anonymous said…
Interesting quote. I never cease to be amazed at the weird and wonderful things men seek (or reject) in a prostitute.

The plane incident is hilarious. I wonder who was more embarrassed, you or the other woman who thought she was sitting next to a shameless hussy about to seduce half the other passengers?
1969 said…
Zane....no comment. LOL

LOVE the Autobiography of Brother Malcolm X. Great book selection.
Maybe the church lady should read some erotica if not Zane then The Song of Solomon right there in the Good Book and let her mind and passions go.

The Song of Solomon is not about God's love for the church or love for Israel, it's about a man and a woman loving each other.

Christians...I tell ya...I just don't know sometimes (yes I'm one of them I guess, if they stop throwing me out of the kingdom).
Jen said…
Great timing, Liz, as I had some other bloggy stuff to do this week - thanks for the tag!

I'm usually reading a few books at once. Not sure what I'll pick up tomorrow when I do this.. On my desk right now, I have two rather boring pieces - both for work stuff.

BTW... have you read, or heard of, "Stealing Buddha's Dinner"? I think you might enjoy it. I just finished it and absolutely loved it. I didn't always agree with the writer's perspective, but I found a lot of what she had to say fascinating.
velvet said…
I had to say that I guffawed out loud at the airplane incident. How embarrassing! I had no idea who Zane was... well, guess that I do now.
Anonymous said…
HA HA!! Yippee!! I've missed this curse... I mean meme... so far! :)

Of course, you did a beautiful job - so much better than I ever ever could.
Anonymous said…
Oh yes I had a friend give me one of the other Zane books ranting and raving about how great it was. I took it on the train --- a few pages later I felt so dirty reading it in public but then again I live in NY so it's acceptable commuting reading here, lol.
Liz Dwyer said…
Yeah, I sort of didn't get this meme either once I started doing it. But I love Malcolm's book. First read it when I was probably 11 or so. Much rather read that than Zane any day. It's such book porn. Terribly written book porn!

It was one of those moments when I was grateful that I live in a really big city with a bit more anonymity. Can you imagine living in a small town and having to see the woman who thinks you're a shameless hussy every single day?

Love Brother Malcolm X. I wonder what he'd think about Barack, you know?

Do you remember when Zane went public with her identity by doing an interview with Essence or Ebony? I can't remember which magazine it was but the minute she said she had kids in high school, I felt SO bad for them. I KNOW those kids got clowned at school the next day.

Hagar's Daughter,
Welcome and glad you came by to visit! I remember the first time I read the whole Bible I was surprised by the amount of sex in it. But now that I'm not a teenager anymore, I realize there's nothing inherently bad about sex because it's a really beautiful, spiritual gift from God. I think it just gets used and abused to fill up some of the emptiness we feel in our lives and Zane's writing reflects that. Thank goodness the Bible isn't as poorly written or as ridiculously graphic as "Addicted" was. The church lady probably has a healthy sex life with her husband (they were really cute together) but just isn't down for reading such bad writing!

This is a busy week, isn't it? I also have some boring books sitting around here. I should just take them back to the library because if I can't make it through the first 20 pages or so without getting confused about characters or losing interest in them in the first place. I feel like I've heard of that book but I'm not sure. I'll see if I can find it. Thanks for the recommendation.

That's definitely in my top 10 most embarrassing incidents in my life but it makes me laugh now too!

This one has been floating around for a minute, hasn't it? I'd missed it for a while too but I guess it was time for me to do it!

Welcome to you! I know a couple of people who make book covers to ride on the train so folks can't be all up in what you're reading. Zane would definitely require one, that's for sure!
Lisa Johnson said…
That is a hilarious story! I actually just did this meme, but I'll do it again,since it's pretty easy and I have a bunch of books scattered around.
Lydia said…
You are too funny!

I had never thought about reading Zane, really didn't know what she wrote until I went and heard Nikki Giovanni speak. Somebody asked her what she thought we should do about writer's like Zane. Nikki's thing was if it gets people reading its a good thing. It's expression etc. I still haven't read Zane, but maybe variety is the spice of reading.

Great Post!
Lydia said…
Hey Liz,

Thought of you when I saw this post/info.

Liz Dwyer said…
Oh good, glad you decided to bite even though it's coming around your way again! You're a good sport!

The worry I have is that folks will never progress past Zane -- or they'll think, why read when what gets published is such complete and utter crap! Sigh! But I'll tell you, knowing that she got published gives me hope that one day I'll be published too.

Very cool. I wouldn't mind doing one of those classes. Thanks for the link!

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