Thursday, December 07, 2006

Brain Function No Higher Than US Weekly’s Comprehension Level

The company encourages us to check out books from the store so that we can better know our product. They give us a limit on the amount of books we can check out and the time we can have them in our possession, which normally wouldn’t be a problem, but Christmas always does an acid dance on our brains. As my boss was getting ready to leave yesterday she paused behind the counter with that vacant stare that we all get when faced with the daunting task of deciding which of the millions of books in the store to check out. After a few moments she sighed and shook her head, “I don’t think I can read anything beyond a magazine’s thickness anyhow.”

Most of us are in that state. The only coworkers who are devouring books are those who’ve been in school and are now celebrating their freedom from required reading with wanton disregard for all things high brow. Down with Melville and Hawthorne, bring on the YA, the romance, and the memoirs about heroin abuse!

I’m in a similar state to my boss, capable only of skimming a book before I either give up and declare it unreadable or just toss it aside for another day. I’m bored, picky and just plain irritable with authors that I usually love and books that I know are well written. I need a reading evening though, something to restart my internal Zen clock so that I can relax enough to sleep through the night. Tonight would be the perfect night to settle into a book, really give something a chance, but I promised to go check out some gallery exhibits with friends. It doesn’t bode well for that little trip that I’m thinking of bugging out at eight a.m., but it’s not like I know any of the artists we’ll be seeing personally.

Words or pictures? Words or pictures? Hmmm, will have to consider this throughout the work day.

As for y’all, Monica has provided a link (and a breakdown) of the WSJ article on race in fiction. There’s a great discussion going on over there that you should check out and add your two cents. Something to consider: would sectioning out “urban lit” (a title given to books that are written predominately by African-American authors and focused on street and gang life) as one might do with Women’s fiction or Horror add to the problem or not?

In connection to this, Marta emailed me a link to a talkback opportunity that PW Weekly article she wrote on the subject of being labeled in fiction at all.

And is there no bigger label than the label of “best”? Fuse #8 lists the lists of best children’s books of 2006. She also tells you where you can go to list your favorite blog crushes.

The Written Nerd adds her words to the Forbes Special Report on books.

POD-dy Mouth gives her take on the ongoing Sobol strangeness.

And that’s all the links that I could fit into this print before I ran out of time.


Robin Brande said...

I think that's a great idea for all the employees there to be able to check out books and learn the products, but I hear ya on the mental overload and the crankiness that comes with it. Sometimes I actively refuse to read, and instead spend hours watching What Not To Wear reruns. I believe this is good for a person.

Also, when I'm in a mood like that, I'm especially resentful of ponderous, "important" literary novels. Give me light and fluffy and funny. This is why those authors are out there, to fix people like you and me and rest of us when we're so crabby. Those writers are helping make this a better world.

So take that, Book Snobs who think chick lit and romance and YA and Harry Potter just aren't worthy of your time.

Lisa Hunter said...

RE: Words or pictures.

See, this is why I love coffee table books. When my son was a baby, I had no time to read anything longer than a (brief) magazine article, and I was going crazy. So I started buying art books and flipping through them. It saved my sanity to have something interesting to "read" when a 500-page novel was out of the question and I couldn't take another magazine touting how to decorate with sheets or get a man to like you.

Marta said...

Hi, BSC, thanks for linking my piece in Publishers Weekly on marketing. By all means, go to the galleries. One, they tend to have free drinks. Two, even if you don't know the artists, you can hover around and pick up art lingo so that when you eventually get around to reading Peter Carey's Theft, you will feel like one of the cognoscenti. Three, you will get lots of cultural cred. (1 Gallery Show = 20 books. 4 movies = 1 book. 1 Opera = 20 movies, etc.)