I’m never really embarrassed of the books I read, but that changed when I decided to tackle a book that’s been sitting on my “to read” list for about four years. You’d think I’d be proud of this feat, but instead I hid the book’s title when I was reading it in public. And when I went to type it into Google at work (to write this blog post, of course), I hesitated first, and then only proceeded when I also typed in the author’s name and the word ‘book.’
The book I’m alluding to is none other than I Love Dick. It’s not what you’re thinking. This is Chris Kraus’s (in)famous novel that chronicles the obsession of the main character, also named Chris Kraus, with a man she meets named Dick (hence the cheeky title). This book is written in letters, and there are also elements of thinly veiled autobiography woven with meditations on art and philosophy. Part confessional memoir, part critical essay, the book blends disciplines and genres. It’s so meta: Chris Kraus is an artist writing about the character Chris Kraus, who is an artist, and the product is a piece of art, which is I Love Dick.
This book’s been hailed as a game-changer for how women can write and for what novels can be, paving the way for literary works from some of my favorite writers, like Sheila Heti and Ben Lerner. But that doesn’t make carrying around a book entitled I Love Dick any less embarrassing. However, I’ve found that embracing a #noshame mentality and telling people what I Love Dick is actually about has been a positive experience for me and a surprising one for them. So if you get weird looks when you go out with your book in public, think of it as a chance to start a conversation!
P.S. I checked out this book through the Interlibrary Loan system—which allows you to check out books from other libraries in case the Free Library's collection doesn’t have what you’re looking for!
For the entire month of November, Free Library staff will be embracing our so-called “guilty pleasures” without embarrassment! Join in and show us your pride for whatever you’re reading, watching, or listening to by snapping a photo with the hashtag #FLPNoShameNovember. We’ll feature your photos on our social media accounts and curate a list of the now-shameless titles!