Sunday, December 12, 2010

I love a good white elephant gift exchange

As previously mentioned, book club had the annual white elephant gift exchange (WEGE) and a toy/book/clothing swap (very successful -- only 3 little items left over that no one wanted).

The WEGE requires some back story, as, sadly, so many good practical jokes do. I wrote a note on Facebook recently entitled "Books you hated. Really loathed." Here it is:

  • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Book written by a total hack. Contains plot holes you could drive a truck through.
  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Just hated the damn narrator. Repeatedly used all the words I hate, like "munch" and "toothsome." How I finished this piece of crap is beyond me.
  • The Firm by John Grisham. GAH. Drivel.
  • Bridges of Madison County by some damn fool who I'm not even going to look up. Worst grammar ever in a best seller. The clich├ęs are thick on the ground.
  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Of all the damn narcissistic, shallow, useless idiots, this one decides to write a book.

This lead to some very lively literary discussion, in which the word "crap" was, perhaps, over-used. In the comments, people added:

  • The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  • Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  • The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda
  • Twilight
  • Loving Frank
  • Vanity Fair
  • Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead
  • All the Berenstein Bears books
  • The Catcher in the Rye
  • The Life of Pi
  • Everything ever written by Debbie Macomber, Virginia Wolf, and Emily Dickinson
  • And ALL contemporary realist American fiction
So. Back to the WEGE. We gathered and drew numbers. When it was my turn, I picked a present and unwrapped it. It was a table-top fountain that I said I'd like to keep if possible. The next person stole it from me, as is allowed under the rules. I picked another present. The wrapped box contained 3 wrapped items. The first one turned out to be the same ugly stuffed scarecrow I got in this exchange last year. Groan! The other two looked like books, so I happily turned to them. First one? A Confederacy of Dunces! Ugh! The second one? The Da Vinci Code! Argh!

So hat's off to Margaret! Well played, friend. Well played.

The next book for book club will be
The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty.

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