Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for March, 2011

I Still See Books

I’ve been a bit down in the dumps lately. In the past few months, one of my favorite book stores, Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cleveland, closed, followed by news of a Borders demise just five minutes from my house.

Big. Sad. Sigh. My mood became as dark as the ominous skies that dominate throughout our long Ohio winters.

What’s going to become of our industry? I couldn’t help wonder. I’m finally making a living as a writer (albeit, a modest one), and now book stores are crumbling faster than Lindsay Lohan’s career. Not to mention that I love, love, love books—printed books, that is. I love the smell, the feel of the pages, the infinite selection of stories in which to choose . . .

I go to bed with a book each night. I love the words telling me fascinating tales as I drift gently into a good night’s sleep. I even won an award recounting my lifelong love affair with books—it was the easiest essay I ever wrote.

Quite simply, books make me happy.

And so, I cringe as, one by one, book stores are closing everywhere I look, and as I hear people tell me proudly, “Oh, got your book on Amazon!” This even after I’ve suggested they support a local bookstore. And I know it’s because “it’s easier now just to order online.” 

But then, I saw a vision. Or several, actually. While vacationing in Key West recently, I saw a great book town. Strolling along Duval Street, I saw books. And signs for books. And book stores! Imagine my joy when I discovered two independent book stores within walking distance! My heart leapt with exhilaration! The stores were big and beautiful, and I was once again reminded how much I love hanging out in a book store. What fun it is to browse through so many books—all shapes and sizes and stories. For years, spending time in a book store has been my favorite thing to do on my birthday. (Oprah gets a mammogram on her birthday. I shop at books stores. Who has the better time?)

As I blissfully scoured through a wonderful array of titles (and yes, there were many others there, too), I was reminded why E-books will never be for me. To add to my delight, I saw a new book by a colleague of mine, Cleveland writer, Paula McLain, prominently displayed. Her wonderful new novel, The Paris Wife (about Hemingway’s first wife) had just been released that week. Hope of good books still being published was restored.  

If all those thrilling visions weren’t enough to lift my literary spirits, I saw more books. At the airport, awaiting my trip back to the arctic north, I gazed around me and saw nine people (yes, I counted) reading books. Real. Printed. Books. Others were reading newspapers and magazines. I saw not one Kindle. I nearly wept with happiness. 

For in that moment I was reassured that I am not alone. I believe that after all the buzz of these new, exciting gadgets dies down, both E and printed books will live together in harmony.

So don’t let all the bad news about the book industry get you down. Books are still vital, cherished commodities. And it’s up to us writers to keep it that way by continuing to produce good work. . . . 

*And by the way, did you know that this is National Novel Editing Month? If you’re working on getting that novel polished in time to pitch it to an agent at the upcoming Pennwriters conference, check out: National Novel Editing Month – GalleyCat

See you next time. Until then, keep writing!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »