Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I'LL PASS! Nostalgia is an expensive commodity in publishing.

A few years back, I ran into Pavilions, a supermarket chain located in Los Angeles to pick up a bottle of wine to take to a friend’s house for dinner. At the checkout counter on display were books; current, hard back, name-brand, bestselling authors. You know, the space usually reserved for randy, tawdry, name-calling tabloids was now sporting novels. Interesting! A top-selling author I followed was among the writers showcased. I grabbed MY copy immediately, thankful there was still one left and held it protectively in my arms, not wanting to soil the beautiful jacket cover by placing it on the conveyer belt. I’d been reading this author for years, since her first novel skyrocketed into the literary super-stardom forefront. I’d followed her complete series. I grew to love her characters, her stories, the settings, wondering where she would take her cast and the plot next. Her books became comfort food for my eyes, and my world. I would submerge myself for hours in her vivid passages and be transported, quite literally to another place, another time, another realm…ahhh, the power and beauty of the written word.  Then, something shifted. Either I lost interest, got bored, or my reading style changed…whatever occurred, I stopped reading. But, that feeling, that magic, that sensory memory remained intact. All those rich, intoxicating places I’d been catapulted to in my past continued to surface each time I saw her name, BOLDLY spelled-out on her new jacket cover, her new release. And each time, I gobbled up my copy, compulsively shelling out good hard cash for a visit to nostalgia.  I’d get cozy in my reading chair and prepare myself to once again be devoured by the words…
and stop reading…
I think I got to page 25 with that book.  Similar best-selling author’s line my shelves now, hardback editions purchased, started and put down.  The books became more a coffee table decoration than entertainment. Dog-eared flaps turned over, a reminder of the last page I visited. All of them…unread.  Nostalgia is an expensive commodity in publishing.
So, with the brewing anticipation of yet one more highly-awaited novel coming from another decorated, best-selling veteran (the current darling of the literary world), I too sat, hungry, waiting, salivating for its imminent release. Even though, her massive, historic, highly publicized debut sat unread, a relic in hard back, left forgotten in some musty basement where I once resided years ago. At the time I felt weird. Why couldn’t I finish what I started? What was wrong with me? Obviously, I was inferior, unable to keep up with a book that held New York City’s literary circles hostage. But alas, I was a kid then, on a mission, in a hurry going nowhere, preferring hard-impact aerobics to flexible, versatile yoga. Now, my pace, as well as my age had slowed down. Now, I was ready.
The saving grace of Kindle – eBooks. I can download a sample. So, with heightened curiosity I waited, expectant, treading water in the pre-publishing press wave, awaiting delivery into my steadfast Amazon device. I began reading, at lunch actually, and got lost, immediately in the reverie of her words, her well-crafted sentences, the descriptive passages… yes, yes, yes…this is it!  Finally! Several shake my head moments. The stunning landscape of her creative vision, her feelings, and her thoughts...inspiring.  Captivating. The description was so evocative, so real, so raw, so there. Then, something strange occurred. Again. The very thing I was admiring, (relishing in fact) the element I’d been completely taken over by was now tying me down, restricting me, keeping me a prisoner.  I couldn’t get to the next paragraph without re-reading. The book was written so precisely, each minuscule second displayed photographically on the page to the point I began questioning…really? Do I need to know that?
I made it to the end. Of the sample.
But this time…I’ll pass! 

1 comment:

  1. Hmmmm.... I wonder who you were reading. Oh, do tell.

    Great post. Well written as usual.