I’ll be blunt. Life in the Booksquare mail room has not been kind to me since my last post. In the last few weeks I’ve been inundated with more books than ever before. It’s almost as if some of you took my complaint as a challenge.
In the past week alone I’ve received dozens of books that are so poorly targeted I can’t even get the cleaning crew to take them off my hands. There’s a sci-fi novel about a kilted astronaut, scores of knitting themed romances, and yet another book featuring a large breasted woman wielding an enormous sword (generally I want to like these books because of the weaponry, but in reality they seldom satisfy).
As I’m writing this, the UPS man is headed for our delivery room after unloading a dolly full of boxes from his truck. Lord only knows what ridiculous titles this latest shipment will bring.
To some, however, my complaints are a form of blasphemy. I should, apparently, love all of these books simply because they’re printed on paper. These people seem to think that any book that doesn’t occupy physical space on the book shelf (or in the recycling bin, as the case may be) is not a “real” book.
For insight into the mind of a “real” book lover, consider this recent message from a now former Booksquare reader, complaining about this fine publication’s occasional discussion of ebooks.
I believe in real books… printed books, paper, dust jackets, leather bindings, antiquarian treasures.
My life has been spent with them… as a professional librarian, copy and acquisitions editor and bookseller, and a mom of four sons, granny of five, all of whom cherish their books.
A Real Book Lover
Dear A. Real,
First of all, I find it curious that you ever signed up for the Booksquare mailing list. After all, it is electronic. And believe me, it’ll stay that way as long as I’m running the mail room.
You say that you love books, but to be honest, I have my doubts. You claim to love the paper, the jackets, and the binding, but you haven’t mentioned a thing about the stories or ideas bound up in those printed volumes. It’s almost as if the words don’t matter to you.
Your letter briefly caused me to imagine what my book club might be like if we were all so enamored the physical artifact. As I imagine it, we would sit around discussing the binding and the quality of the paper. At some point, someone might bring up ink, and then we would all talk about glue for a while.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that kind of book club would be fascinating (given enough wine). It just isn’t for me. But what do I know, I’m not a “real” book lover.
Allow me to suggest that you may have missed your calling. Instead of working as a librarian, you might consider a job in the paper industry. I hear Dunder Mifflin may be hiring.
Very truly yours,