Several of the monkeys have started enjoying themselves by looking for different Google search terms that return a link to this humble blog; slightly silly, indeed, but they get so little fun hunched over their keyboards that we don’t have the heart to stop them. As a result, so far two very wonderful things have happened.
First of all, they discovered that we have had a visitor searching on the term ‘What the fuck is shandy?’. The monkeys claim that this is one of the highlights of their careers to date, and want us to make it clear to anyone else who arrives here after searching for that term that shandy is in fact beer mixed with lemonade. As we’ve said previously, we live to serve.
Secondly, and perhaps more startlingly, we’ve discovered one of Julian Ruck’s fundamental problems in his ambitious attempts to become a writer. No, he doesn’t actually read.
In this remarkable post, he reveals that he doesn’t believe that many people have read ‘every word’ of ‘War and Peace’ or ‘The Lord of the Rings’, that he gave up after the first fifty pages, and that most people ‘only have them on their bookshelves to make themselves look clever anyway’.
Since the two books in question are so remarkably different, we can only presume that Julian’s literary analysis of them is effectively: ‘They’re long. People have heard of them.’ It almost beggars belief that Julian thinks anyone would have an unread copy of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ on a bookshelf in order to ‘look clever’. In fact, Julian, it’s more or less the other way round: ‘The Lord of the Rings’ has spent much of its life as a massive favourite amongst American college students, which means a) it gets read (as massive favourites tend to) and b) it doesn’t make anyone look particularly clever.
We should feel sorry for Julian – if he moves in circles where people think having a copy of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ makes you look clever, it’s no wonder his own attempts at writing are so impoverished.
We don’t, though. Feel sorry for Julian, that is.
Why ever not?! we hear you cry.
Because he found the first fifty pages of ‘War and Peace’ boring. He thinks that one of the most remarkable achievements in literature was boring. No doubt Tolstoy would be more to Julian’s taste if he formed plurals with commas and used the term ‘oral orifices’ more often.
Tip for the day: if you’re not a reader, don’t expect to be a writer.
If you’d like to become a writer, the very first thing you need to do is read widely.
If you’d like to become a better writer, there are lots of things you can do – but one of the most important is, yes, read even more widely.
And if you haven’t read ‘War and Peace’ yet, go and do so; it will enrich you.
Oh, and please, for heaven’s sake, don’t put any copies of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ on your bookshelves in the hope that it will make people think you’re clever. If you want something long and impressive, you’d be better off with the OED.