Tour is over, I’m back, and I’m ready to talk about reading!
But not to talk about reading my books because, frankly, I’ve had enough of that to last me until next year.
At some point during the tour and all the rounds of media, even the biggest narcissist in the world gets all, “No, please, let's talk about you.”
(Caveat - I do need to say thank you times a million to all of you for coming to my events because you guys are the whole point of what I do. You rock, for seven years running!)
Anyway, I’ve pledged to spend the summer reading books that aren’t on the front table at the bookstore or filling a top ten position on the NYT list. Times are tough for authors out there, particularly the new ones, and I want to do what I can to help.
Through Facebook suggestions, I filled four pages of paper with authors and titles… none of which I had with me when I stopped in the airport bookstore on the way to my first tour stop. Typical.
So I bought the book My Lucky Star by Joe Keenan, largely because I wasn’t familiar with it. But as an Emmy award-winning writer for Frasier and with comparisons to P.G. Wodehouse, the author’s credentials were impeccable. I knew it had to be funny.
Also, because this is me we’re talking about, the cover was pretty.
Until I looked up this book, I didn’t know MLS was a continuation to a series Keenan had written years ago. Again, I credit the author for crafting such a solid story that I didn’t need to have read his earlier work to enjoy it.
Keenan hooked me from the first page. His turns of phrase are nothing short of genius and the whole novel has a real gilded-age-of-Hollywood vibe to it and it’s so rife with hilarious conflict and complication that I found it almost impossible to put down.
(Caveat again - I didn’t realize until halfway through that this book is categorized as gay and lesbian fiction and there’s a graphic sex scene in the middle of it. And yet, every bit of action that happens afterward hinges on this, so it’s not salacious so much as it is hysterical, as well as being very, very timely with all the Travolta business lately.)
(Third caveat - you guys are well aware that I would die rather than to write anything even vaguely dirty - so much spelling - but when scenes like this are included to advance the action or better define the characters, then I’m absolutely fine with them. Ultimately, I want to read a good story, you know?)
My point is, I didn’t find the book hard to put down so much as I found it hard to hold up because my laziness knows no bounds. I’ve become very spoiled with the advent of the e-reader. At one point during my paperback read, I thought, “Here I am, propping this book up with two hands like a sucker. If I had this on Kindle, then I could use NO hands, save for the occasional page flip.”
So I downloaded it and spent the next week toggling back and forth between print and electronic copies. I’d read my Kindle until the plane took off, then I’d pick right up in paperback until the captain turned off the seatbelt sign and we reached our cruising altitude, only going back to paper upon our descent.
Now, I’ve had books that I’ve concurrently read in paper and electronic form before, but have never swapped them in and out so intermittently. And maybe I’m the last horse to cross the finish line here, but I’ve discovered there’s a tremendous difference, even though the words are exactly the same.
The print edition of My Lucky Star has a stylized font that harkens to an earlier time and reinforces the whole theme of the book. Yet the print on the Kindle looks exactly like every other book that I’ve read. As I went back and forth, I found myself having to re-read portions of what I’d seen electronically because I missed the nuances of an actual book.
I guess the medium really is the message.
I’m not sure where this leaves me as a reader because I love the ease and convenience and pricing of my Kindle reads, but I also care about the subtle but appreciable differences in a real book.
Most likely, I’ll choose on a case by case basis going forward.
So, next up in my Summer of Other Reading Series – Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman.
I’m about ten percent into it and am already madly, deeply in love with what I’ve read. Now I'm so mad at myself for not having the chance to meet the author at the Gaithersburg book festival. Domestic Violets is funny and poignant and the author's voice is so clear it feels like he's telling the story directly to me.
After that, I’m on to Jane Devin’s Elephant Girl, which the author herself was kind enough to send me.
I’m not sure what’s on the list after that but I'll be sure to share when I do choose. And I'm seriously thrilled to have the rest of the summer to figure it all out.
(Yet another caveat - if you’re still busy reading Jeneration X, that’s okay, too.)
(Final caveat - files with embedded footnotes for Jen X have now been sent to all the ebook sellers, but they upload them to their servers on their own schedule. So, the fix is in but it may take a day or two to be in effect. If you've already purchased, contact the bookseller for a free updated copy. Thanks!)