I went to the bookstore alone last night. Instead of lighting on the computer section first then gravitating inexorably to Science Fiction & Fantasy I figured out where the regular book are kept.
They call this section Fiction. In it the shopkeepers are allowed to mix Clive Cussler with John Steinbeck. Patricia Cornwell with Emily Bronte. And Stephen King with anyone else. Seems like they could easily split this large section into Fiction You Read in School and Fiction You Read at the Beach. They don’t.
Normally I scan the covers looking for dragons or swords or cityscapes or spaceships. Then I glance to the title and author to see if either sounds like a dumb name. In this sense, dumb is a little hard to quantify because some some names are dumb but don’t sound so it the right context. Other names don’t sound dumb right away, but still are. With genre fiction you can just about judge a book by it’s cover. The traditional alphabetizing by the author’s last name isn’t an encumbrance for finding what you like. Not so in the fiction section where Lewis Carrol the author of the first book I selected and Ernest Hemingway, the author of the second, are separated by two aisles of other folks and you struggle to remember what you were after by the time you’ve worked through all the Ds and Es and Fs and Gs.
There existed the off chance I’d buy Atlas Shrugged as well–I didn’t. By the time I got three more aisles over from Hemingway to Rand I’d forgotten I my intentions. The shock of seeing that phonebook like mass of pulp spine-faced next to it’s brother The Fountainhead almost kept me from sliding it out and looking for the price. Nearly thirty dollars for that book made it easy to gently wedge it back into the void. Some other budding hater of industry–or whatever it is Ayn Rand loathes (or does she love something? Is that it?)–can plop down her cash for that one. Me I’m scanning the Gutenberg Project later today. Or maybe Scribd.
So I’m going to ground. Retreating. Getting some lessons from the masters by reading in order to drive up the quality of writing around here. You know, now that four days of writing proves I’m back.
You may still suggest you favorite classic for me to read in the comments below or from yesterday, but I doubt I’ll get to it soon. I need to wrap on A Wizard of Earthsea then dig into all of Papa’s short stories while simultaneously reading Alice in Wonderland to my oldest daughter each day.