So let’s say that you have people coming over. You’re going to eat maybe, maybe split a bottle of wine between everybody, and sit on the couch while you all listen to OK Computer at a volume of three and talk about the latest fan theory regarding the *TRUE* ending of Quantum Leap that we never saw because it got cancelled at the end of season 5.
You’re going to want a book on the coffee table. A good one. It needs to be a book that has gorgeous pictures, light and fluffy flavor text that takes seconds, not minutes, to read to your friends, and can be put down without a thought if it happens to spark a discussion about how much easier it must have been to be a carny in the late 1800’s. So it can’t be Gravity’s Rainbow or The Brothers Karamazov or similar (though those might also spark a conversation or two “Oooh! Gravity’s Rainbow! Kids today don’t know what a sky the color of a television tuned to a dead channel is though.” “I’m pretty sure that that’s Neuromancer. But kids today will say “oooh! The sky is a deep blue!” “My television just goes to black and says “NO INPUT” in letters that bounce around the screen in a 90’s screensaver style.” “I think the letters are just there hanging in the middle, hon.” “Well, whatever.”)
One book that will get the tongues rolling is Harry Potter: A Journey Through a History of Magic (you don’t have to be a fan of Harry Potter to dig this book, though it certainly wouldn’t hurt). In between of discussions of characters from the book, speeches given by the characters in the book, and talking about the artifacts used in the book, there are a *HUGE* number of gorgeous pictures and drawings and sketches of the various things being discussed.
In the section of wands, they show wands that the British Museum has on its shelves. In the section on potions and herbology, there are pictures of really creepy looking mandrake or a 12th Century recipe for a cure for snakebite. The astrology section has a 13th century Syrian astrolabe and 8th century Chinese star charts. The section on divination has a picture of Cecil Williamson’s scrying mirror and Oracle bones from China from the 12 Century BC.
Now, if you hate hate hate Harry Potter, you should avoid this book because some sections are about little more than how the characters interacted with these sorts of things… but if you don’t mind those books so much, this will give you a lot of starting points for fun conversations on those nights when you’re all sitting on the couch and enjoying your post-dinner chat.
So… what are you reading and/or watching?