Thursday, June 14, 2012

Surrounded By Books

There are days when I think I really should have gone into Library Science. To be surrounded by books would be an absolute delight. Immersed in text. Wallowing in thoughts and phrases and aphorisms and, sometimes, in books that I think should be heaved into a dumpster. But that is the beauty of the printed word. It's all out there. I think that's what makes a book fair exhilarating. It's all out there.

I love these shelf units. They were hinged and folded together and latched. The books never needed to be packed into boxes.

Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
Based on a novel by a man named Lear
And I need a job, so I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

It's the dirty story of a dirty man
And his clinging wife doesn't understand.
His son is working for the Daily Mail,
It's a steady job but he wants to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer. 

Fiction the length of three tables.

The one book I was actually looking for wasn't on anyone's table. It's probably still too new, but the absence of the large booksellers such as Barnes and Noble made the fair one whole city block smaller. It did, however, open up the fair to a large number of small publishing houses and writers workshops. Exposure like this has to boost their morale and their sales.

There's musings everywhere about the death of the printed word. Books will, some people suggest, go the way of the model T or the land line phone. I don't ever see that happening. Curling up with your Kindle is similar to curling up with a book, but there are always going to be people who prefer the turning of a page instead of the swiping of a finger. The masses who were stuffed into tents perusing the offerings would probably agree with me. The holding of a book and the turning of its pages cannot be equaled by a Kindle. Plus, a book never has to be plugged into a power supply.

My only complaint about the book fair was the huge abundance of Illinois and Chicago books. I realize that's kind of like walking into an ice cream store and complaining they don't have hot dogs. If the fair is in Chicago, having books about Chicago means you sell more. Books by Chicago authors, books on the city and books on the state probably do sell well, but I felt a somewhat homogeneous selection this time. Civil War books sell very well. Kids books tend to sell well. I just remember, in years past, a wider selection is all. I know it's a fine line, deciding what part of your stock gets to sit outside for two days. The lack of a wider selection meant my money stayed in my wallet.

Maybe that's not such a bad thing when I look at the stacks of books in my house that I have to read.

Beverage:  Huckleberry tea


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