Bookish Things That Should Exist

Aram Mrjoian

Staff Writer

Aram Mrjoian is a contributor at Book Riot and the Chicago Review of Books. His reviews and essays have also appeared in Necessary Fiction, The Adroit Journal blog, and The Awesome Mitten. His stories are published or forthcoming in Tahoma Literary Review, Limestone, The Great Lakes Book Project, and others. He is currently working toward his MFA in creative writing at Northwestern University, where he is a fiction editor at TriQuarterly. Twitter: @AMrjoian575

I have a lot of random bookish ideas running around in my head. With the holidays right around the corner, consider this a wish list if you’d like. Some of these ideas might not make much sense. Others may seem downright inane. But hey, I got big dreams. One of these days I’m gonna grow a mustache to rival Tom Selleck, you just wait.

1. Book barrel-aged beers. I want a bourbon barrel ale imbued with copies of The Great Gatsby. It would have a lingering inky aftertaste of Roaring Twenties glamour. If I drink enough, I hope that it will make me stoic. I’ll start calling everyone old sport and somewhere in my inebriated state, Leo will pop into my head and I’ll fuse together his accent from The Departed with Gatsby. It’ll be weird. The beer will be delicious. Are you a cop, old sport?

Or what about some heavy stouts infused with a nice blend of Gogol, Tolstoy, and Dostoyevsky. That would be my contemplating beer.

Imagine some Midwestern American lager flavored with the soaked pages of Bonnie Jo Campbell.

2. Scratch and sniff cookbooks. Are you curious what aroma is going to fill your kitchen when you start making a specific pan-fried whitefish recipe? What about that bourbon peach cobbler? C’mon science, catch up. Find a way for me to smell my food before committing. After all, taste is tied to our olfactory senses, right? Deciding what I want to make for dinner would be a lot easier if I could give it a good sniff first.

3. Books that punish you for making bad life decisions. I am a book bro, and when I skip a workout to lie in bed and plow through 100 pages of Gone Girl, I get mad at myself the day after for not being active. If there were reasonably priced hardcover books that tied into the health feature on my smartphone and only opened if I had worked out that day, I’d buy them in a heartbeat. The magical microwave developed by MIT dudes tells my smartphone that I ate too many calories for dinner? Then, ironically, I will not be finishing The Dinner, by Herman Koch this evening. Again, where you at science?

4. A business that competed with Amazon drones based around a system of toy remote control cars. My official Roomba literary army. Bring it, Bezos.

5. Edible books made from some type of sugar paper that you could take on camping trips. That way, your pack is a little lighter by day five, and you have a back up source of sustenance if something’s off with your food supply. I would start with A Moveable Feast.

6. A publishing imprint called Cash Monet, Young Manet, in which I exclusively sign musicians, actors, directors and other artists to skip the tell-all biography (they can still write those; I do enjoy them) and write a compelling work of fiction. I would start by signing Donald Glover, Aubrey Plaza, Kanye West, St. Vincent, and James Murphy. Quentin Tarantino would be offered a deal, under the stipulation that he writes a novel that gives the Inglorious Basterds treatment to the Armenian Genocide.

7. A thing kind of like those holiday chocolate calendars where you punch the candy out of the little box each day. Except instead it’s a reward for finishing chapters of War and Peace. I’ve been stuck somewhere around page 400 for about two years now.

Anyway, there’s some random food for thought. If anyone can make any of these ideas possible, I’ll take a 10 percent cut off the top and a free prototype and call it a day. What are your random bookish ideas? Leave ’em in the comments.