Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Beginning or an End?

Rather than begin with a quote, let me begin with a story about my younger daughter. Poor thing, like her older sister, has had to endure growing up with not one, but two book-junky parents. That has meant more visits to bookstores and libraries than most people probably. (Really. Does your trip planning involve Mapquesting the local library of your vacation destination?)

It was on one of our many weekend short trips that we found yet another hole-in-the-wall used bookstore. My husband and I perused the shelves as we usually did, allowing our then five-year-old to do her own exploring. She began with the children's books but wandered a bit to several stacks of dusty used books near the owner's office. Very carefully, she chose a rather thick book with no cover and no art, but lots and lots of words. Then she proceeded to lug the book around the store, clutching it closely to her chest.

We wound up buying her that old book. It joined the other old books she chosen on other trips.

I don't know whether she's ever read any of them, but I can't help but think of her collection whenever I consider the new eBooks.

Writer Pete Meisling, who offered these thoughts about electronic books on his blog in September: "We're forsaking the value of spontaneous discovery (When's the last time you found a digital file lying on the bench at the bus stop?). We're profoundly changing our notions of permanence and ownership (Will you leave behind a book collection for kith and kin to wallow in after you die, or will your Amazon account simply close? Will you really experience the same sense of gratitude at being lent an e-book for two weeks as you would at being handed a beloved paperback? If you're young enough, will you ever know the difference?)."

As I've said before, as I enter the world of novel-length fiction, I do wonder which path to take. Am I looking at placing my work with the maker of candles who stubbornly sees no merit in the newfangled light bulb or what?


Reading: Finished the delightful MOONLIGHT MILE by Dennis Lehane. Have since read Richard Price's THE WANDERERS, Sterling Watson's SWEET DREAM BABY (which is really a horror novel!), Daid Corbett' sTHE DEVIL'S REDHEAD, and James Lee Burke's first three Dave Robicheaux adventures, THE NEON RAIN, HEAVEN'S PRISIONERS, and BLACK CHERRY BLUES. Also MIAMI NOIR and BOSTON NOIR (both with gut-punching stories by John Dufresne).

Writing: Working on UNDER STRANGE, STRANGE SKIES. Sold a short story! (More on that later.)

No comments: