Favorite books?

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Hope everyone had a good weekend and is excited to go into another work week. I, for one, am ready for the weekend to be over as I was sick for most of it, including today, and I’m not looking forward to facing the pile tomorrow morning. Oh well. Should have gone to the Glorietta conference afterall. . .

Alrighty then. Ellie’s just quieted down and I may get about 30 seconds to myself here to discuss another important piece of the book publishing process, that being the love of books themselves. I don’t think it’s possible to be in this industry and not love books, the smell of them, the crack of the spines, the heft, density, and corporeality of a perfect-bound book. It isn’t as uncommon as one might think–I know many bibliophiles (if that’s the correct term) out there who are nodding along with me right now. They’re imagining a favorite encounter amongst the stacks at the public library, an old, neglected copy of Moby Dick or The Canterbury Tales calling out to them, and the urge to check it out simply because it’s been a while since anyone else did. And you thought you were the only one, didn’t you?

So tonight’s topic, rather than another sermon on the ins and outs of the physical process, is favorite books. What are they? Some of mine are listed there to the right, but those are just the ones I admit to. What is it about your favorite books that makes them so satisfying? Do you have ones you come back to every so often for another read to see how it’s changed since you read it last?

My ultimate read, since I’m first here, is The Catcher in the Rye. The characters, the pathos, the everyday wisdom behind the classic coming-of-age story just never gets old for me, probably because I’m still such a bumbling teenager underneath. The day that teenager leaves me, I’ll probably outgrow old Holden Caufield. But I don’t anticipate that anytime soon. It’s a funny one to choose because I don’t like Salinger’s other stuff. I mean it’s fine, but it doesn’t shatter you the way Catcher does. In case you couldn’t tell from that list, I love the heartwrenching stuff.

And while we’re on the subject, I’d like to put in a plug for a book that isn’t listed over there, The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I must have read that book a year ago and it’s still haunting me, which is appropriate since it’s about a librarian who experiences “spontaneous chrono displacement.” If you haven’t read it yet, go buy it before it slips off the bestseller list and travels back to full price. It’s a mindbender, but so worth the effort–especially if you happen to be a bibliophile.

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