Friday, April 22, 2005

Happy Seven-Month Birthday to Me!

Yes, it's the 22nd, so I am now officially twenty-six years and seven months old. Yay me! For those of you who do not practice fractional birthdays: Why not? It provides a perfectly rational excuse/justification to stay in bed another half-hour or have another cookie/drink/fifteen minutes in the sun. Celebrate good times, come on! (Let's celebrate.)

Yes, I just quoted a Kool and the Gang song in my post. Shut. Up.

It is Thursday night, and I am tired, so this might be a little loopy. Arthur and I argued today about flap copy for one of our books, The Valley of the Wolves by Laura Gallego Garcia. Arguments over any form of editorial work are always interesting because they are basically arguments over taste: I read, hear, understand this text this way; you read, hear, understand it that way; and as one's editorial personality (and hence entire editorial life) is built around this ability to read and understand texts, any difference between those two understandings can get pretty individual and pretty heated pretty damn quickly. Arthur and I have the same tastes 92 percent of the time -- we had similar tastes to begin with, and then he trained me. But the other eight percent, like the two sentences under question in this copy, always surprise me. Usually I come around to his perspective, because usually I realize he's right; after all, besides having great instincts, he has twenty more years of editing experience than I do. But in this case he was just wrong. Still, I changed the copy anyway, because there was no way we were going to agree on it, because we both have plenty of other things to stress over and this wasn't worth it, and because he's my boss. So. When the book comes out, you all can look at the flap copy and tell me my way was better, even if you don't know what it was.

I am going to Germany on Saturday and this is what is in my bookbag:

  • Gilead by Marianne Robinson (Carleton Book Club selection for May)
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (the Pevear/Volohonsky translation, which I demanded when the Barnes & Noble lackey tried to foist one of their cheap B&N Books old-fashioned Constance Garnett translations on me: I don't think so; a Resolution book)
  • The Tenth Power by Kate Constable (copyedited manuscript for review)
  • The Valley of the Wolves by Laura Gallego Garcia (edited manuscript for further review)
  • One Step Behind by Henning Mankell (a terrific mystery novel set in Sweden; my relaxation book, no work or assignment involved)
  • The last two New Yorkers
  • The Klutz book on knitting, with needles and yarn included (maybe; I have to see if I can take the needles on the plane)
  • My writing notebook

What I really want is a good, funny, frothy romance novel (a Jennifer Crusie would be perfect) or another mystery (a Laura Lippmann, especially), but I know from experience that if I have one of these I will never get any of my work done, much less read the serious books -- I bought three books rather than reading the Moby Dick I'd brought when I was in England and Holland two years ago. And possibly taking five books for an eight-day trip is a little excessive already. But God spare me ten minutes without reading material. . . . I have certainly planned this list with far more care than I've planned my wardrobe for the trip thus far. :-)

So I'm departing on Saturday, and this will probably be my last post until I return in May. Have a wonderful ten days, all! Enjoy the spring! Call your senators in protest of the nuclear option! Leave comments! Eat chocolate!


  1. You may think that I make "cheap B&N Books" but that's just because you're an ungrateful snob. I bring the classics to people who otherwise would not have the ability or interest in purchasing overpriced versions of the classics published by Penguin, Modern Library, or Everyman. Let's fact it, by setting the price of my books at such a reasonable and modest price, I'm helping to introduce a new group of people to the classics. Why spend $10 on something that you might not like when you can try it out for $5?

    These classics might be available in the library, but given the budget cut-backs all over the United States, libraries have less money for books and are open fewer hours each week. You can support the Queens Borough Public Library by going to this link and clicking on "Donate:"

    I realize that as a visionary, I am bound to be misunderstood and unappreciated. You could, however, at least acknowledge that by making the purchase of books more affordable, I am getting more people interested in books and reading.

    In any event, even if there were hypothetically instructions from me to my lackeys to foist "cheap B&N books" upon the masses, I note that it can't be all that bad. I, after all, did create Barnsey, the Noble Bear. If you're not going to buy at book at one of my stores, you can buy yourself or a loved one Barnsey.

  2. Hah. I BET you a paperback that you won't read the Bros K.
    [Does that change the world, now?]

    Speaking of to-do books, have you read A PASSAGE TO INDIA yet?

    Take care, Miss C, and fly safe.

    [Does this count as a posting that gets me a postcard? If not a postcard, can you send a 15C manuscript from Ulm? It would be much appreciated.]