Between Your Cheek and Jaw

Okay. As they say, I’ve done my research and I’ve discovered what Americans consider a far better path to entertainment and enlightenment than sitting in a comfy chair and reading a good book. First I donned my old Superman fire suit, left over from a brief foray into dirt track racing many years ago, and opened the wide world of inscrutable evil colloquially known as TikTok.

Game over, Man.

Although I have been planning on reading Proust’s Recherche in the next few months, I may have to change my plans. Proust is rich and erudite but on TikTok I can watch strangers scratch off lottery tickets with a cuticle pusher available from Amazon and I can digitally offer hearts and flowers when the ticket is a Dud (or equally if it is a Dub).

Other exciting and education things you can find on TikTok include watching interminable hours of arched fishing poles and sad (but big) fish; some incel broadcasting from his garage in the heartland revealing his personal Top Ten List of movies from 1973; an explorer with at least two state-of-the-art metal detectors digging fused ankle chains and ancient dog food cans from the beach or backyard; a young guitarist demonstrating his mastery of imitating Eddie Van Halen; staged arguments; unanswered riddles; boring bar games; and just enough tempting cooking to force you to eat that last Twinkie you were saving for Armageddon.

Tempting. I hear that a regular TikTokker is expected to reveal the State famous for having the most Adirondack chairs and might even reveal the most popular packet chew in each of the 50 States.

Or I could just read a book. You?

  1. The Alteration — Kingsley Amis
  2. Alias Grace — Margaret Atwood
  3. The Inferno — Henri Barbusse
  4. The Day We Found the Universe — Marcia Bartusiak
  5. A House Divided — Pearl S. Buck
  6. A Whistling Woman — A. S. Byatt
  7. Hard Rain Falling — Don Carpenter
  8. Robert B. Parker’s The Hangman’s Sonnet — Reed Farrel Coleman
  9. The Gambler – Fyodor Dostoevsky
  10. Purity — Jonathan Franzen
  11. “I” Is for Innocent — Sue Grafton
  12. Egmont — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  13. The Drunken Spelunker’s Guide to Plato — Kathy Guiffre
  14. My Life As a Rat — Joyce Carol Oates
  15. When Christ and his Saints Slept — Sharon Kay Penman
  16. Within a Budding Grove — Marcel Proust
  17. Lake Success: A Novel — Gary Shteyngart
  18. To the Land of the Living — Robert Silverberg
  19. The Adventures of Sir Launcelot Greaves — Tobias Smollett
  20. A Spool of Blue Thread — Anne Tyler

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