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Friday, July 18, 2014

Summer Reading, Had Me a Bla-ast...




Interesting article in today's Shelf Awareness...   All highlighting is mine as are comments in red...


Shelf Awareness : Daily Enlightenment for the Book Trade
Friday | July 18, 2014 | Volume 2 | Issue 2299


 Robert Gray: A Brief History of Beach Reads

First, sincere congratulations to CNN as the 2014 award winner (in a very competitive field) for most egregious use of a summer reading pun: "Whatever your definition of 'beach book'--romance, mystery, gripping true-life-tale--you'll find a shore thing here."

As I dutifully pored over all the summer reads recommendation lists released during the past couple of months, I began having sun-addled visions of beach reads from the distant past (sometimes called "hammock reads," I soon learned). After some seasonally appropriate leisurely research in the archives of the New York Times, I now offer for your summer reading pleasure an ever-so-brief history of the American beach read:

1890s: "During the Summer days a table was placed in the doorway and here were displayed a selection of the paper-covered books for 'Summer reading.' For some reason lighter books were considered more suitable to the hot weather."

1897: "The reader of to-day whose knowledge of books goes back twenty years must often have been surprised with the change that has come over books intended for Summer reading.... Society and civilization may take hope from the improved quality of the Summer books.... It truly seems as if all the world were writing novels. With bad ones plentiful enough, how good the best ones are!"

1900: "But if there is one season in which the printed book might be regarded as a questionable intruder it is when the pageant of Summer has attained its full splendor and the most attractive pages of the great book of nature lie open before us.... When he would for a brief period escape the spell of the printed page, break its chain, and rise to a rarer atmosphere, lo, the whole world seems leagued against him, and from a hundred throats he hears the cry, 'Books for Summer Reading!' "

1907: "What I'm trying to discover is whether any one reads in Summer, or whether the bulk of vacation literature is really an unopened contingent.... It isn't necessary to read a book in order to be happy with it. On a steamer or in a hammock you simply have to have the book in your lap or close at hand, with the paper-cutter and pencil."
Cincinnati Public Library bookmobile, 1927
Cincinnati Public Library bookmobile, 1927

1920: "It made us wonder just how Summer Reading has progressed in a world where excitement has been the rule and where nothing has remained as it was.... Gone are the days when the unambitious reader would lie in the grass in a semi-coma and meander blankly through a volume of trashy lovemaking and trashier thrillers."  Those days are NOT gone for me!!!  I plan on spending at least 5 days of my vacation doing nothing but...

1928: "What do people read in the summer?... They read, in other words, whatever the tastes and piety of earlier generations of Summer residents have stored for them on the hotel shelves."

1950: "There is, however, one error which is disastrously popular--namely, the assumption that only 'light' books, by which is meant trivial or foolish or badly written books--are suitable for summer. Nothing is actually harder to read than that which is not worth reading, and there is nothing more likely to produce boredom than a too desperate attempt to escape it." Wow...  really?  Light books are trivial or foolish or badly written? 

1953: "When an unwished beach picnic is suggested, for example, the necessity of reading a light romantic novel will not stand up as an excuse for not attending. On the other hand, the casual display of the somewhat weightier book will prove at once that even on vacation the thirst for knowledge rises superior to such casual pleasures as picnics."  IMHO, ANY book is an excuse for not attending something I don't want to attend!

1968: "There is nothing like the library of a summer house to reverse the tides of literary improvement.... It is wonderful junk--never weeded out, like other junk, because summer people just can't throw any book away, however transient its subject or purple its prose." (William Zinsser)

1971: "The reviewers must have reasoned that as we, book lovers all, packed to head off for vacation, we agonized about how to pack our limited baggage space with the most rewarding material available. Hence 'suggestions for summer reading.' " (Russell Baker)  The days of packing an extra suitcase/carry-on with multiple books to read on my vacation are not long gone; admittedly with the advent of $25 surcharges for checked luggage, I'm now a huge fan of the Kindle!

1985: "A feeling seems to have arisen that summer is the time for light reading. I don't know where anyone got that idea. The truth about summer is this. There are an enormous number of hours in it--slow hours--and yet, before you know it, somehow it is over.... Summer is the time for heavy reading, reading that works up a sweat. I wouldn't be surprised if there were scientific studies showing that the sun's heat melts eye-glaze." (Roy Blount, Jr.)

2014: "For me, being a reader, in summer or at any other time, isn't a 'lifestyle choice.' Rather, I made the choice--if that's what it was--so long ago, it has taken on an inescapable character in my mind.... The beach is one of the few places pathological readers can pass undetected among their civilian cousins." (Zadie Smith in O, The Oprah Magazine)

And, finally, these history-transcending words of summer reading perspective from George R.R. Martin: "Winter is coming." --Robert Gray, contributing editor (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

30 Days of Lists 21

I Make Lists for...

...  EVERYTHING!!!!

'Nough said.

(Please note:  the list isn't called "I Do What's on My Lists...  which would have as an answer, NOTHING!!!!)

Friday, June 27, 2014

30 Days of Lists 20

Oops.
Vacation.
Work.
Didn't post last week...

Things I'd rather be doing right now...
  1. Reading
  2. Watching a movie
  3. Vacationing
  4. Eating
  5. Shopping
  6. Scrapping
  7. Playing Candy Crush
  8. Looking at my Instagram feed
  9. Relaxing by the lake
  10. Reading to the kids at school
  11. Taking a class:  How to spend my lottery winnings
  12. Going out to dinner
  13. Losing weight rather than gaining it - thanks, vacation...
  14. Learning to knit better, crochet better, sew better
  15. Taking a trip to my alma mater (UD) to see the campus (Go, Fightin' Blue Hens, Go!)
  16. Touring the Harry Potter Theme Park
  17. Relaxing
Hmmm, thought I'd come up with a few more but really, this sort of says it all...

Oh,

  18. Not working

Thursday, June 26, 2014

LEARN 21

Yesterday I LEARNed that my company laid off another large number of key employees.

These people are well-known in the company, in the industry.  They take with them a huge amount of industrial knowledge, and that makes me sad.  They will take relationships when they go, people they know, history they remember...  all things that can't be replaced as we grow and expand and recreate our business.  Who will I call when I need to know about something that happened 20 years ago in our company?

I'm aware that things change.

Things need to change.

But I don't have to like it...

And I don't.

I find it more difficult in some ways to deal with change as I get older, and at the same time, I feel as though in some ways, I adapt more easily.  Yes, that's as 180 degrees opposite as you can get, but it's me, folks, it's all about me...

Seriously, it is hard for me to accept change, whether it's a new employee (or hundreds of new employees), or something as minute as a change in my flight schedule...

Which brings me to LEARNing patience...

I'm patient, y'all, I really am.  I can wait, I can hold out for the longest time...  But when there's no reason on God's green earth to put me off about something, NO, I DON'T deal well with that at all... 

And I've LEARNed, too, that I have WAY less tolerance than I used to have.  I was much more accepting when I was younger.  I've LEARNed as I get older, there's less time to fix things, so why break them in the first place?  Why risk a relationship?  Why hurt someone's feelings?  Why do anything negative at all?

I find myself very irritated when someone does something thoughtless or inconsiderate.  I find it hard to forgive and forget.  I don't think I'm at the holding-a-grudge point yet, but I know that's right around the corner...  I feel it coming...

I need to LEARN to be more patient, more accepting, more forgiving.  I'm not blind to my faults - I know there are things and people I'll have a hard time forgetting, but all those little things (road rage, anger when I can't control or manage something so it turns out the right way/my way...), those little things - I need to LEARN to let go.  I need to LEARN to accept.  I need to LEARN to deal.

There's still a lot to LEARN out there, in that big ole' world...

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Quotation of the Day - Gaiman: 'Nothing Matches a Good Indie'



From Shelf Awareness Pro, Thursday | June 12, 2014 | Volume 2 | Issue 2273


"I don't think that anything actually matches the experience of actually going into a good independent bookshop."
--Neil Gaiman in a Salon interview entitled "I'm Obviously Pissed at Amazon"

This whole Amazon/Hachette thing...  I admit to not having a 100% grasp of the whole scenario, and I can even admit that I can see both sides, to a degree.  But I work for a publisher.

Amazon has ceased to sell Hachette books.  They're claiming Hachette inventory levels are delaying shipments to 2-4 weeks.  They've removed the preorder buttons from not-yet-published Hachette titles. 
 
Why?  Amazon wants to make more money.  They seem to feel that all e-books, regardless of who published them, how much it cost to publisher, all should sell/cost almost the same price.  Well, it's not their call.  If it cost a publisher $1million to buy a book from author #1, and $100,000 to buy it from author #2, and author #3's cost $200,000 but requires all sorts of graphics or photos, etc., how can they all cost the same?  Let's not talk about the potential market for each of those books being different:  will a colonoscopy text book sell the same as a Harry Potter book?  Why don't the Kia, Mercedes and Lamborhini vehicles all cost the same?

It's America.  We all want to make more money.  But it's not up to Amazon to set the pricing for a book an author wrote, a publisher published and a printer printed.  If they want to do that, they should become a publisher themselves.

Oh, wait, they ARE a publisher now, too!  Well then, go ahead, set your own book costs/selling prices as low as you want, but you can't tell ME what to price MY product at, Amazon!  Sure, you can choose to not sell it, but as a customer, I guess I'll go where I need to go (Hello, B&N!) to get what I want!