“I am the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and Fries.” – Stephen King
While I disagree with Mr. King’s assessment of his value to the world (he has to rank at least a lovingly crafted deli sandwich from that place you grew up reading – I mean, eating at), I’ve found myself gnawing at the idea of a literary feast after rediscovering this quote. Allow me to set the table, and suggest a few other literary equivalents (the term distorted for my own purposes), just in time for that most vexing of calendar plot points, American Thanksgiving:
Jonathan Franzen is the literary equivalent of the “sorry, can’t make it” text from the uncle who RSVP’d but is spending the day in bed with his new girlfriend. Instead of turkey and stuffing, his day will be filled with nature documentaries on the DVR, vinyl records, and an eighth of an ounce of ditch weed.
Toni Morrison is the literary equivalent of the argument at the kid’s table that the adults pretend to not notice and hope will just settle itself out quickly. The terrible reason why Isla despises her cousin Oliver will haunt the memories of all the children present until their dying breaths.
John Grisham is the literary equivalent of the father who thinks you should have gone to law school instead of majoring in English, I mean, for Chrissake you already speak and read the language, you could make $200,000 a year instead of having $200,000 in student debt until you’re fifty.
H.P. Lovecraft is the literary equivalent of the cousin who spears hunks of calamari with his forks and makes them dance like Charlie Chaplin with the dinner rolls in The Gold Rush. He then drops the N-bomb during a discussion of the current geopolitical climate.
Mindy Kaling is the literary equivalent of a glass of cranberry juice the teenagers spiked with vodka from the liquor cabinet when the adults weren’t paying attention.
Tucker Max is the literary equivalent of the moment when those teenagers vomit up their vodka cranberries into the bushes.
J.R.R. Tolkien is the literary equivalent of the grandfather relegated to the cold front porch so he can keep smoking his pipe. It’s cold out there, but you still bundle up so you can listen to his stories.
Ayn Rand is the literary equivalent of the grandmother who spends the entire day wacked out on Dexedrine she bought off the Dark Web, knitting scarves for her Etsy shop.
So: what authors and works do you bring to your table?