Pulp fiction: an ode

I’m leaving town tomorrow, and I’m mostly worried about what I’m going to read on the plane – as if I’m not going to spend the 6am flight asleep anyway.

I love to read.  And I really love to read good books: my bumper sticker reads “My other car is a Pynchon novel,” and the cornerstones of my library could probably be used as actual cornerstones in addition to their occasional turns as doorstops and weights.

I read fast too, so the hardest part of preparing to travel is packing enough to read.  And despite my booksnob facade, the books I end up bringing usually lie along these lines:

Carl is holding it down for the serious readers, but what’s that on the left?  Here’s my secret: I really love pulp fiction.  Especially bad Cold War thrillers, but I’ll also accept small-town murder mysteries, cheesy romances, and the eternal sci-fi/fantasy epic.  If the writer is a one hit wonder, the cover is abominable, and the plot is almost completely predictable considering its genre, I’m in.

Which one of these is not like the others?  Don’t say Twilight.

It’s my firm belief that one should never pay for one’s pulp.  One should borrow it from a friend or library, or one should keep an eye out when walking down city streets on garbage day in case one’s neighbors are ridding themselves of boxes of dubious literature.  That’s how we got the books in the blog header.  If you’re wondering, Sky Ripper has the most egregious last-page plot twist I’ve ever come across but The Only Girl In The Game is a complete downer.

I scored a few books from a co-op house’s free stuff area.  And I broke down and paid for Proof because I had fond memories of it.  At the very least, one should only buy pulp fiction used.

Also, you can just leave things to chance and participate in that age-old custom where people passing through an airport leave their light reading behind in the waiting area as they deplane.  I’ve scored a few books this way, mostly detective potboilers, nothing special, and have left behind the same.  But if you fish long enough, you eventually catch The Big One.

It’s not pulp fiction, but it’s the best book I’ve ever found in an airport.  It’s called His Monkey Wife and it’s about a man and his monkey wife.  Sounds delightful, right?  Eesh.  It was written in 1930, and pretty much posits that an actual monkey would make a better wife than one of these “modern women.”  It’s the most ridiculous thing, and I have no idea why someone would read it much less read it on an airplane, but now it is all mine until I set it loose upon the next unsuspecting traveler.

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2 Responses to Pulp fiction: an ode

  1. I have to say, that last one does sound like the best by far. There used to be a website where you could log the books you’ve left in airports and see what books are available in the airport you’re going to. Not sure if it’s still up, though.

  2. nancy says:

    It would be cool if there were some sort of geocache system for finding great paperbook books in hidden airport locations.

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