Audio books and e-readers are wonderful. I’m hooked on print as well, of course. But what I really need is some kind of connection, preferably wireless, that allows me to download books directly into my brain. The constant flood of excellent, intriguing, thought-provoking, entertaining writing is overwhelming, at the same time that it is a source of endless joy. I was at my local independent bookstore last evening. I always buy something, otherwise how would they stay in business? But I can’t afford to buy every title I want, so for many of them I note down the titles and authors and add them to my library desiderata list. My hometown library allows patrons to keep in their online accounts a list of library-owned books to read. But they limit the list to 100 titles. It’s a good thing they do, as mine would be ridiculously out of control. However, while at the bookstore, I don’t just browse the display tables and shelves for new reading. I also pick up the latest brochure, called “Indiebound“, put out by the American Booksellers Association. It always points me to additional books to seek out. But yesterday’s trip just piled it on. I discovered a relatively new journal called The Coffin Factory. The subtitle is “The Magazine For People Who Love Books.” It seemed appropriate for me. In Issue Three, there is an interview with Judith Gurewich, the publisher of Other Press. Here was another irresistible introduction to many books I would not otherwise have discovered. (Maybe if I get a library card under an assumed name, I can get going on my next 100-item elist of wanted library books. I wonder if this would be illegal.) But, there’s more. While at the bookstore, which has an excellent periodicals section, I picked up the latest issue of the marvelous literary journal, Tin House. My favorite recurring section of Tin House is called “Lost and Found.” Here, well-known writers revisit well- or lesser-known books from the past that still deserve to be read or discovered for the first time by those who either missed them or maybe weren’t even born when they were first published. Without fail, I find at least one enticing new lead.
So, while publishing seems to be thriving in all its forms (I’m delighted to say), I can’t pick and choose from the wealth of offerings. I want to consume them all. So, whenever you (whoever you are) get that direct download of books to the brain up and running, I’m ready to sign up for beta testing.