Buy My Book: Not Because You Should, But Because I’d Like Some Money by John Edward Marszalkowski
My rating: 4/5 cats
john edward marszalkowski is gonna tell you about some things.
that could be the whole review, and it probably should be the whole review, but i’m a fan of overdoing things, so i will.
the title of this book tells you everything you need to know about its contents — a blend of self-deprecation and blunt honesty: marszalkowski wanted to be a published author, and so he wrote a book. we live in a day&age where traditional publishing models are no longer the only way to get a book into the world — between the kindness of crowdfunding strangers and twitter et al’s leveling of the playing field into ‘you have a voice and you have a voice,’
there are more opportunities for books like this; books with atypical approaches and structures, to get out there and be seen, and it’s a more interesting bookworld for it.
because this isn’t an easy pitch to an agent — a regular guy writing about what he wants to write about; a parade of seemingly unrelated topics. in fact, here — let me post his table of contents for you:
MARKETING IS STUPID, RIGHT? OH WAIT, NO, IT’S ME
I’M NOT SUICIDAL, I JUST OFTEN THINK ABOUT WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF I CRASHED MY CAR INTO A BRIDGE EMBANKMENT
I THINK EVERYONE IS WRONG ABOUT GODS AND GOVERNMENT, BUT LET’S NOT KILL EACH OTHER, PLEASE
DON’T MIND ME; I’M JUST TRYING TO LIVE FOREVER
THE ONLY THING RICH CONSERVATIVES MIGHT BE GOOD FOR IS FINANCIAL ADVICE
“WHAT CAMERA SHOUD I BUY””
“MUTTER DER GNADE, ICH SPRECHE KEIN JAPANISCH!”
WANTING TO WANT WANTING
DON’T WAKE ME UP; THE DREAM IS BETTER
I’M NOT A BAD DAD, BUT I’M BAD AT… SOMETHING
WHAT’S THE POINT OF ANYTHING?
JOHN’S TIPS FOR LIFE
YOU CAN DO IT! OR MAYBE YOU CAN’T. EITHER WAY.
THE CHAPTER AFTER THIS ONE WAS WRITTEN BY STEVE KEILLER
DIFFERENT CRAP FROM A DIFFERENT “WRITER”
FIFTY MENTIONS OF FIFTH DIMENSIONS
THE GREAT MERCY
SHEPPARD ME, OH ANNO
THE WORST-PAYING BEST JOB I EVER HAD
COULD THE EARTH ACTUALLY BE FLAT?
THE REASON FOR ALL THIS NONSENSE
who even knows how these thoughts connect and yeah – there’s a chapter in german because why not?, but it does deliver on its CHAPTER XXII promise that there will be a reason for all this nonsense. and it’s a great one.
it’s a credit to his voice and personality that i enjoyed this book as much as i did, considering the fact that so many of his areas of interest and expertise fall into my “i don’t care about it” zone: finance, quantum physics, music theory, photography — just typing out this list is making me go lalallalaaaaaaaa in my head.
he claims to not know much about anything, aw shucks&etc, but he’s savvy enough to know that the more self-deprecating he is, the less inclined someone is going to be to tear him down, no matter how explicitly he begs for them to do so, meanwhile he knows far more about camera lenses and chord progressions than i’m ever gonna know and DID YOU EVEN SEE THE TABLE OF CONTENTS? that dude knows roman numerals. he so fancy and continental.
flashy letters-as-numbers aside, he seems like a genuinely likable guy, doing his own thing, sharing what he knows, and also sharing his space; letting his buddy take over a chapter with his flash fiction, including a forward from his childhood bestie’s mother and an afterword by his wife – it’s a potluck of a book where everyone can hang out and contribute and learn something. there’s even an opportunity for reader engagement in the form of some self-assessing worksheets at the close of most of the chapters, making it interactive and self-helpy without being aggressively self-helpy. just kind of a chill ‘think about this if you wanna’ vibe.
so, buy his book, give him your money. he is very matter-of-fact about wanting it:
I want your money. You probably bought this book, so I have won that battle. I win the war when I sell enough copies to cover my costs and get at least one cent in the black. Do you know why that is important to me? It’s not greed. It’s simple; even though it will make people cringe, I will be able to call myself a professional author, technically. Eyes might roll, insults hurled, and even anger felt. I don’t think those reasons are good enough to stop me from doing something I’ve always wanted to do.
so help a fella out – you’re sure to get at least one thing out of it (maybe more, if you speak german). his thoughts on soup are groundbreaking – revolutionary!, and in the category of inspirational quotes, which have never been very useful to me, he’s contributed one that actually IS helpful to keep in mind:
YOU HAVE TO MAKE SHITTY SHIT BEFORE YOU CAN MAKE GOOD SHIT.
that alone is worth the price of the book. which you should still buy, even though i just gave you all that sweet sweet milk for free.
I DO HAVE ONE QUESTION, THOUGH!
there is a part where he is discussing the difference between the “cool” and the “asshole” members at the gym where he worked, and he uses this example:
The assholes were the types of members that ran around a dead body on the running track and then got mad because we said they have to stop because the cops and paramedics needed to secure the area.
is this a real thing that happened or a situation created for illustrative purposes? provide to me the context, please! don’t save it for the sequel!