I registered on Goodreads (www.goodreads.com). My intention was to set up an author page for my upcoming book, Architecture by Moonlight, but before I could do that I needed to have an account on the site. Inputting the usual data. Checking off my preferred genres. I like Classics, Contemporary, and Memoir more than Paranormal, Thrillers, or Romance.
The next screen showed five book covers: Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird, Star Wars, The Great Gatsby, and Jane Eyre. Four out of five seemed good match, and Star Wars is a Classic, though not as a book. Goodreads asked me to rate them. Really? Who am I to pass judgment on Jane Austen, Harper Lee, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Charlotte Bronte? I posted five stars for the first three and a reluctant four for Jane Eyre. Giving everything five stars felt like grade inflation, and let’s face it, Jane Eyre is so depressing.
Another five book covers popped up – more like Pride and Prejudice. What did I think of Middlemarch? Violette? Then five more like The Great Gatsby. I got to rate Lolita, Franny and Zooey, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. How those books were related to Gatsby was beyond me, but then the entire enterprise was foolish.
More like Lolita led me to Portnoy’s Complaint, then Appointment in Samarra, then The Berlin Stories. Goodreads had tapped right into my literary underbelly. I ranked Camus’ The Fall and thought the next screen might offer Marat/Sade when my favorites took off in a new direction.
More like To Kill a Mockingbird offered The Giving Tree, Holes, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I loved them all. Particularly Holes. Any story where salvation turns on an affection for onions is a winner with me. Goodreads logic then inquired if I liked Goodnight Moon and Harold and the Purple Crayon. Of course, I adore Harold and the Purple Crayon. How many times did my toddler shelf wish that escaping my existence could be accomplished in a snug onesie with a single crayon. I like The Story of Ferdinand and Make Way for Ducklings as well.
How about Harry the Dirty Dog? I love Harry the Dirty Dog. My children and I read it again and again. But wait a minute. This game began by contemplating the value of The Great Gatsby and it’s degenerated into assigning stars to a dirty dog. The comparison is beyond apples and oranges; even beyond onions. I gave Harry four stars. I don’t hold him in as high esteem as Jay Gatsby, but I put him on par with Jane Eyre.
Internet connections make some sense, and a whole lot of nonsense. In less than five minutes I confronted over a hundred book cover images, ranked what I’d read, wondered about the rest, and ultimately spent as much time considering Harry the Dirty Dog as I did The Great Gatsby. In the process I elevated Harry and certainly diminished Mr. Gatsby.