Quality Paperback Book Club has the early softcover of Special Topics in Calamity Physics, if you’re one of those people who finds hardcovers to be just not as hand-friendly as paperbacks. Or shoulder-friendly, if you’re carrying them in your purse or pack, the way I used to when I worked in NYC. They have the hardcover of The Emperor’s Children, although the club specializes in paperbacks. I’ve belonged to them off and on since I was a kid, before the internet.
Both of these books are getting criticism based on their author or subjects being young, attractive and rich. It’s possible that people are reading them for that reason, but I don’t know why that should be a surprise. People read books about the middle class, the upper class, the destitute and marginalized, drug addicts, the homeless, about marriage, divorce, serial killers, the mob, the various ways the world might end, books by authors who are from and/or write about other cultures. There are elderly middle-class men who swear by John Updike, and young white women who swoon for Toni Morrison. Everyone either wants to read about himself, or doesn’t. Why do publishers salivate over young, attractive authors (and turn them into young, attractive, rich authors)? Opinions vary: Sarah Weinman. Last Sunday's fashion piece, It's Like Nothing, Really, in the New York Times didn't help. (Thanks to Cheryl for that link.)
Why a book club junkie age 11? The neighborhood we lived in didn’t have bookstores, just one stationery store that carried Kurt Vonnegut paperbacks. (I’m rereading Welcome to the Monkey House now.)
Two of my favorite people:
Read an excerpt from A Man Without a Country.
"Immersion in the life of the world, a willingness to be inhabited by and to speak for others, including those beyond the realm of the human, these are the practices not just of the bodhisattva but of the writer." --Jane Hirshfield