Tuesday, August 23, 2011

National Book Week, or Why I'm glad Claudia didn't eat a booger on page 56

It’s National Book Week, at least according to Facebook, and in celebration, you’re supposed to reach for the closest book, go to page 56 and post the fifth sentence as your status, which really makes me happy the fifth sentence of my novel isn’t, “Claudia ate a booger,” or similar. And this is not because I carry it with me everywhere I go. I’m just saying.

When I did this earlier in the week, my sentence was “Beat in the brown sugar, oil and applesauce.” As you might imagine this was because I was in the kitchen and I grabbed the closest book, which happened to be a horror novel because don’t you think oil, brown sugar and applesauce just sound nasty together? Regardless, it’s a fun little exercise that happens around this approximate time every year. I haven’t been able to pin down the exact dates; it varies depending on where you search on the Internet. This is fine with me because personally I think every week should be National Book Week.

Just yesterday I was introduced to someone else as an author and the man said, “Oh, I don’t read books.”  He seemed rather proud of this, which I think is along the same lines as being proud of not holding the door open for little old ladies.  I mean really? You’re proud you don’t read books? Or perhaps he was just afraid I was going to try to sell him the copy of Wish Club I keep in my pocket.
Personally, I wish I could read more books. I wish I could spend my days lolling on the couch, or the beach or anywhere for that matter (who wouldn’t like to loll more?) reading massive quantities of books.  When we were on vacation earlier this summer, we all brought our Kindles and we read, read, read. It was heaven to soak up so much literature. And nothing makes me more proud than to watch my kids immersed in books. It makes me feel that as a parent, I’ve done at least one thing right.

What I don’t like about the Kindle though, is you can’t see what people are reading because you can’t see the book cover.  And this is not because I’m worried my kids are reading Harold Robbins. Listen, Ethan just finished Freakonomics.  He’s fourteen. Scary enough, right? I just like checking out book covers when I’m at the airport or beach or on CTA, just to see what titles are hot right now without having them filtered though somebody else’s published list. Maybe those folks at Amazon could figure out a way to have covers display on the outside of the Kindle somehow.  Or maybe they could just display the fifth sentence from page 56 on the cover of whatever book the reader is e-reading, because judging from what I’ve seen on Facebook, that can be enticing enough.

Happy National Book Week, everyone!

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