Blog by Marlene Smith (

Literary Pursuits

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I was in a meeting the other day at my office.  Assembled around the large conference table were a distinguished collection of attorneys, managers, analysts, and scholars from all over the agency.  The meeting chairman cleared his throat and began with “Good morning everyone.  I’d like to start today’s meeting by having everyone go around the table and introduce themselves.  After that, please indulge us in answering the following icebreaker questions:  ‘What is the latest book you’re reading and what do you think of it?’”

We managed to halfheartedly get through self introductions.  The interest was clearly in the icebreaker.  An impressive list of works began to sprinkle forth:  Walden, Safe Haven, and  Anti-Intellectualism in American Life.  I began to panic.  What was I going to say?  Examples of my current literary pursuits included Clifford the Big Red Dog and a chapter every night from Charlotte’s Web.  Surely I couldn’t tell this truth to the mass of intelligentsia sitting before me.  I could lie and casually drop the words “Oh, just The Federalist Papers…again.”

I finally decided, however, that honesty was the best policy and I replied “My latest read?  Well, I find that I have this on-again/off-again relationship with the book “What to Expect the Toddler Years.”  I’ve read it a good three or four times already, but somehow feel like I still don’t get it.”

The room roared with laughter.  Direct hit.  Esteem secured.

More About Marlene Smith

Currently writing in the parenting/children, food, and business niches.  Previous works include guest blog posts, magazine articles, and B2B copy experience.  Feel free to visit me at