Friday, April 11, 2008

You Can Tell a Book by Its Cover – The Religious

I’m an antiquarian bookseller, and a media junkie. I buy people’s collections, sort through them, sell what’s worth something online, and give the rest away. I have a loft in Bushwick I share with my girlfriend, our dog, and our books. The walls, in fact, are 15-foot-high bookshelves. I sometimes climb my 15-foot ladder to the top and just look around, surveying the area while our 4 1/2-pound Chihuahua looks up at me and barks.

In 2006 I moved out to rural north-central Pennsylvania to sort through a collection I bought from a flea market that went out of business. It was my largest purchase yet, a collection of over 40,000 books. After cataloguing, rating the conditions, and getting rid of more than a few, I found the easiest way of breaking the monotony was to set aside the titles most worthy of ridicule. As I did this, I began categorizing the general areas of laughableness and scanning them for my own enjoyment.

Without question the largest section I have so far is religious titles. I don't know if that's because there are just so many funny Christians out there or because there were so many religious books in north-central Pennsylvania. Anyway, without further ado, I present to you the first 9 religious specimens in my study of the impish, the wimpish, and the just plain simplish.

Do the religious really need to filch titles from Woody Allen? If you doubt the connection, take a look for yourself:

The little yellow book here is suspiciously similar to Dr. Impe's. I guess he figured his audience wouldn't ever notice. Well, I'm onto you, Buster.

OK, so this one was almost too easy. But seriously, I think Tammy Faye looked better on The Surreal Life.

Is it true, what this man says? Has he eaten God?

This one wasn't particularly funny in itself, until I opened the book and this photo dropped out:

I don't know whether to be touched or creeped out by this person's spiritual devotion to his/her pet parrot. It is kinda cute, though.

Funny, he looks more like Jesus in the first picture. (The second looks more like Geraldo.)

Well then. I can't even think of a response to this one. (Except this, maybe - does "fatty, fatty, two-by-four" count as religious persecution now?)

In case you missed this title or his 1970's hit "The Late Great Planet Earth," you can catch his 1990's bestsellers "The Road to Holocaust" and "Planet Earth: The Final Chapter." No, I'm not making this up.

I found it interesting that, while most of the previous titles were in the lower-circulation trade paperback format, this one is a high-circulation mass market paperback. What are they saying about their audience?

File these two under, Who Cares?

OK, OK, all for now. As always, I welcome all smartass responses.

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