Adele Elliott: Book smart

October 2, 2010 9:59:00 PM

Adele Elliott - [email protected]


The world is spinning at such a rapid pace these days. How are we ever supposed to keep up? The daily paper is not enough. We must check the Internet, social networking, anything we can glean from grocery store check-out rags, and, of course, our hairdresser. 


It''s no wonder that many of you may have missed the big news that Snooki signed a book deal -- with Simon and Schuster, no less! (Wall Street Journal, Sept. 29, 2010). 


Those who are not familiar with the over-tanned "star" of reality television''s "Jersey Shore," are thinking, "Who?" Those who have seen the show are probably asking yourself, "Snooki can read?!" The idea that she can write is a bit of a leap. 


Well, evidently Miss Polizzi has actually read two entire books. That certainly makes her qualified to pen a novel. Which shouldn''t be too difficult, since the story is about a young woman living a wild life on the shores of New Jersey. I wonder how she came up with that concept? 


So far, she is famous for being drunk, and having a hairstyle (?) named after her. The "Snooki Bump" is a huge lump of teased hair at the crown of the head. Pleeeze do not call it anything else. 


However, I believe she is most recognized by her peculiar dark orange coloring. The tan is so fake that I fear for her health. A person''s liver can only filter so much poison from the system. Slathering her skin with terra cotta dyes, added to all that drinking, just cannot be good for her well-being. Not even for a seemingly indestructible 20-something-year-old. 


People all over the country love to make fun of Mississippi "rednecks." But, really, here they come by that color naturally. 




Binding art 


On another "literary" note, you may want to check out the work of California artist Mike Stilkey ( He paints on the covers and spines of old books. 


These are part fantasy art and part sculpture. This artist creates haunting images of goth-ish human faces and beautifully rendered animals. They are painted on layered constructions of discarded books. 


Some are ceiling-high, truly an engineering feat, considering the fragility of his "canvas." Some are table-top pieces. The blend of the aged surface and the contemporary painting style gives a sense of timelessness. 


In some ways, I have a problem with using a book for something other than reading. However, as a painter, I have altered books with paint, and by cutting into them, and by assemblage. I am careful to use the sort of book that is pretty much useless, like expired school texts. Sometimes I choose one because the title grabs me and becomes a part of the piece. Often, they are just unreadable, crumbling and ancient. I am very careful not to destroy something that could still be a precious read to someone. 


But I think I have a bigger problem with books written by reality-show bimbos. (This goes for the male version, as well -- whatever they are called.) 


We have so little time these days. Moments set aside for reading are rare and cherished. What an awful waste it is to read drivel. I certainly wish Snooki the best. My advice to her is to save this book''s profits. There may not be another. 


I can forgive Stilkey, the artist who paints on books. He is creating something lovely and, I hope, enduring. 


What I''m really trying to suggest is to look at the classics. There is a reason why some writers'' works endure and some are quickly forgotten, like sand washed away from the Jersey Shore. 


It''s funny, though, how many authors who are considered "great" are from the South, and especially from the state of Mississippi. I''m not sure if it''s because of natural coloration, or even hair that does not appear to be inspired by Marie Antoinette. Make your own assumptions. 


Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina. E-mail reaches her at [email protected]

Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.