Choose your reading pseudonym





I don’t know about you, but the minute everyone’s raving about a certain book, I automatically don’t want to read it. This doesn’t apply, of course, to the books recommended by my sparkling co-bloggers, but it certainly does to the general book-marketing machine. It’s a combination of snobbery and not wanting to be sucked in by hype.

But of course that means you miss things you really would like, as  Dan Piepering says  in The Paris Review:

we deny authors who would clearly suit us, and seek out those who will almost certainly disappoint us, all in the name of eclecticism. And soon enough, it seems that what passes as taste is an arbitrary extension of our insecurities and neuroses… the best thing to do would be to start over, bringing no preconceptions at all into our lives as readers.

Start all over? Well, writers use pseudonyms, Gert has been told, so why not follow this Dada advice and chose a reading pseudonym?

 Yes, reader, take a reading pseudonym; you will be astonished how interesting it will become without the intellectual baggage of whatever-your-name-is. *

Artemisia Coldicutt? Pierre Schnitzel? Sassy Pfeiffer?  Or perhaps a random graffiti tag  – Murgo? Weeds?

Or maybe you could have different ones for different genres:  a cold-eyed, rat-trap-mind one for reading crime, a benign philosophical one for reading the Great Works, a rollicking saucy one for reading Fifty Shades of Grey and its clones.

What reading pseudonym(s) do you fancy for yourself?

334172030@N00/29746162, 62586117@N05/15532866091,   22507788@N03/6047664493, 16391511@N00/8411930810, 25053835@N03/2536711008, 39997856@N03/855581278556141021@N04/16067809883


*Andrei Codrescu, The Posthuman Dada Guide  (Princeton University Press 2009) p. 61.


18 thoughts on “Choose your reading pseudonym

  1. Dunno. We can’t read them all and sometimes how books are marketed puts me off–which probably isn’t fair. But as we continue to read and continue to age, I would hope that we hone our instincts regarding certain books.
    War Crimes for the Home is yours if you want it. Shoot me an e-mail.

    1. You’re right, it ends up being a question of instinct. Gert has the unfortunate tendency though of “taking a set on” someone as our mother would have said. Then neither heaven nor hell can make us read him/her. You’re probably more mellow.
      Yes, please, would love War Crimes.

      1. re: the author’s article, I’ll compare it to food. Some of us refuse to try sushi let’s say,( I’m vegan so I wouldn’t go near it anyway). But taking that example of sushi, person A loves it and swears person B would love it too if they just gave it a go, but person B will not be persuaded. Person A says person B doesn’t know what they are missing. Person B doesn’t care. Seems like the same sort of scenario.

        I didn’t think I’d be interested in Pratchett btw until persuaded to try the first Discworld book. I was surprised by how much I liked it, but I haven’t continued with the series.

        Didn’t think I’d like Chuck Palahnick’s work. Tried it. I was right. So instincts are sometimes correct.

        1. Hmmm….but what if someone told you a food was really good for you and you discovered it was full of fat and sugar? That can be the case with hyped books.

          But there’s plenty of good stuff to read that you’ve never even heard about (hurray for book blogs) and you can certainly go in directions that are new and challenging just by going along those tracks.

  2. Great idea, Gert. I’ll give it some thought.

    Vis-a-vis Terry Pratchett — some of his non-Discworld books get political and messaged, or the satire is very broad. Small Gods, in DiscWorld, is still one of my favorite books.

    1. I’ve never read Pratchett – did enjoy a TV version of part of Discworld but didn’t feel the need for any more. Sometimes when there’s a lot, you feel a bit jaded before you even start.

  3. Ok fresh with the dawn, I have two possible names.
    Helen Back (pinched from The Young Ones)
    and this one:
    R.U. Nicholas (which must be derived from reading War Crimes for the Home)

  4. I think I would go for the name “Lorraine Big Canoe”. If you’re going to have a canoe it’s kind of nice to have a big one.

  5. I’d like to try as my pseudonym the title of a book, ‘Vegan Vampires’, which happens to have been written by my current publisher. As a reader’s name, it seems to cover a lot of bases and is appropriately physical (chomp chomp?)

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