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An Autumn Conversation about Christopher Moore & Other Great Books

This week Clay and JButt get all literary and were going to discuss their favorite books, but mostly Clay just listened to JButt talk about hers. And they probably should’ve talked about Christopher Moore more given the title of this post.

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Clay: We never really talk about books. I’m trying to decide if you’re a reader or not. You probably just read Seventeen all the time because you never got over Jonathan Taylor-Thomas retiring from acting.

JButt: OH, PUH-LEASE. I’ve read all the books. And JTT didn’t retire, OKAY. He’s just biding his time for a comeback. I’m pretty sure he’s just waiting on the perfect script which I am currently writing/directing/producing/starring in as the adorkable female lead.

But speaking of reading, you know what you don’t read? Emails.

Clay: Let’s not change the subject. Although speaking of subjects, you never use any when emailing. MAYBE you’d get a better response to your emails if you titled them and/or didn’t write me while I’m stuck in 4 different airports one weekend.

JButt: You can just assume the subject is always going to be “AWESOMENESS INSIDE.” So wait, you read books?? Probably just history textbooks though, AMIRIGHT?

Clay: While I do read loads of textbooks (hazard of being a teacher), I read lots of other stuff. Seems most people have a preference for either fiction or nonfiction, but I really don’t. How about you?

JButt: I also enjoy both fact and fiction. Especially if the nonfiction reads like really accurate fiction.

Clay: Ah, creative nonfiction. Indeed.

*brushes lint from elbow patches, takes slow drag from clay pipe*

So what does a JButt read throughout a year like this?

JButt: I just read The Rosie Project, and I’m currently in the middle of This is Where I Leave You. I hesitated in answering that because I always have strong feelings about books. I know this is going to shock you, but I’m super judgmental about books, especially if they’ve gathered a lot of hype.

Clay: Yeah, doesn’t seem like you to be judge-y at all.

JButt: Quick example off the top of my head: Special Topics in Calamity Physics, named one of the Top 10 Books of 2006. I, on the other hand, did not think it was even one of the Top 10 Books with “Calamity Physics” in the title. Womp womp.

Clay: Nice.

JButt: Instead, let me tell you my Top Five Books of All Time, in no particular order: The Little Prince, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Twilight. Just kidding. Rounding out my Top Five is Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I’m going to include A Spot of Bother, Pride and Prejudice, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and pretty much anything by Nick Hornby, just because I can.

Clay: I’m impressed you can fire off a list like that. I suppose I can do so with nonfiction, but I’m less committed to fiction or something. Now let me analyze your highlights.

The Little Prince–Never heard of it but that means nothing. I’m sure it’s super famous and life-defining for lots of people.

Lamb–THIS is the exciting one. I didn’t know you were a Christopher Moore fan! You are awarded one cool point.

The Scarlet Pimpernel & Count of Monte Cristo–Never read them either.

Huck Finn–Had the MEANEST English teachers at TWO different schools in junior high. Hated anything they assigned (like Huck) and basically hated English and writing. I mean, how terrible of a teacher do you have to be to kill MY love of reading and writing?

JButt: Bad English teachers should be fired. I’d ask for your list but it’s probably super boring.

Clay: Something we agree on. I mean the part about bad teachers, not my list being boring.

JButt: Let me break it down for you. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. Look it up. You’re welcome. Or, since you hate good books, just watch the movie with Gene Wilder.

Clay: I do not hate good books. Probably.

JButt: Christopher Moore can do no wrong in my book. I’ve read them all. I want to be him when I grow up.

Clay: I had never read a Moore book I didn’t love or at least really like until getting to Fool this summer. I mean, it was okay. I would never stop reading one of his stories. Maybe I’d like it better if I cared more for the source material of Shakespeare.

JButt: And the Scarlet Pimpernel was THE original masked avenger, and the reason I lobbied hard to name our kid Percy or Blakeney or Sir Percy Blakeney. Plus, it took place during the French Revolution, so history and blah blah blah.

Clay: So to be clear, it’s not history you hate, just ME talking about history. Perfect.

JButt: Mostly, probably. The Count just made me sad and I read it when I was an angsty teen so it stuck.

Clay: I watched most of that one movie version once. Pretty sure The Count is one of the few classics I might actually enjoy reading.

JButt: So to be clear, it’s not good books you hate, just CLASSIC good books. Gotcha.

Clay: Precisely. Most classics are terrible. Even the King James version of the bible is kinda awful to read.

JButt: Don’t stand too close to me, just in case you get struck by lightning real quick.

Clay: My list would be way cooler than yours. You mentioned Pride and Prejudice. One of my faves is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Amazing what the living dead can do to spice up boring 19th century literature.

JButt: YEAH, YOU WISH. And speaking of P&P&Z, did you read the same guy’s book Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer?

Clay: Vampire Hunter. Yes.

JButt: Oh, whatever, he slayed them anyway. It just goes to show we should probably just rewrite all of history to include the living dead. Then more people might like it. You’re a teacher, make it happen, Clay.

Clay: While I appreciate the excitement the living dead can bring to history, I sense you’re being backhanded in that subtle JButt way.

JButt: Oh, wait, I forgot to include The Princess Bride in this list. Stick that one in there somewhere. This list might get a little crazy if we keep going.

Clay: Yeah, you can stop now. I was secretly auditioning you for the next StoryMen episode on our favorite books.

JButt: SECRET’S OUT. So you mean you’re going to pay me to talk about books on TV in front of a live studio audience?!

Clay: Yes. Only you’re not getting paid. And we aren’t on TV. And there’s no live audience, unless you count my dog. Do you even listen to us?

JButt: Yeah, sorry, no.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Jessica Buttram writes, parents, laughs, and eats too much chocolate, probably right this very moment and often all at the same time. She’s also your biggest fan. FindFriendFollow.[/author_info] [/author]

By Clay Morgan

Clay Morgan is the author of Undead. Say hi on Twitter.