The morning is long past here on the East Coast. It is still sort of morning on the West Coast. So let us consider this a Monday Morning Hearsay Pacific Edition, and let it be at that.

I have said it before, and I will say it again: if you like James Patterson, we probably cannot be friends. Does that make me a snob? No. It means only that I love the English language sufficiently that I dislike seeing it abused.

The same goes for Twilight, Hunger Games, or, for the love of God, those Gray abominations. I thought there was no way that I could revere Salman Rushdie any more than I already did. But recently I read an article in which he was quoted as saying that Fifty Shades of Gray makes Twilight look like War and Peace. Then I knew that I was wrong, and that one can always love one’s heroes more. Thank you, sir. I eagerly await Midnight’s Children.

That juxtaposition got me thinking, though. Maybe you have seen those Eat This, Not That books that show you pictures of the twenty-five peanut butter sandwiches you could eat instead of one Big Mac. Here is my reader’s edition. Call it Read This, Not That. So we can still be friends.

Instead of: Fifty Shades of Gray
Read: Moll Flanders, Daniel Dafoe

Instead of: Twilight
Read: The Last Werewolf, Glen Duncan

Instead of: The Hunger Games
Read: The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

Instead of: Anything by James Patterson
Read: Anything by P.D. James or Ruth Rendell

Instead of: Killing Kennedy or Killing Lincoln
Read: Destiny of the Republic, Candace Millard or The President and the Assassin,
Scott Miller

Instead of: No Easy Day
Read: Confront and Conceal, David Sanger

Instead of: Anything by Malcolm Gladwell
Read: Science. Just science.

I’ll revisit this from time to time. No doubt 2013 will bring some new awful dystopian world of teenage werewolves killing each other with giant chess pieces. Or something.

I’ll be reading Joseph Anton if you need me.