“You can only read so much”

Wow – lots of new books out by people I love, including Michael Chabon, J.K. Rowling, and Zadie Smith. And, who knew, a new novel from Barbara Kingsolver! Thinking about reviewing this many new titles, fiction editor for the Washington Post, Ron Charles, quipped, “You can only read so much.”

Smith is doing a reading for Politics & Prose Bookstore in October, but unfortunately it’s one of their events (hosted at Sixth & I) for which tickets must be bought. I’m not opposed to purchasing tickets for these events – I paid to see Joan Rivers back in June, after all. (Here is my pathetic attempt to take her picture as she zoomed past me in a silver sequined flash):

She’s old but, yes, she still zooms.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, convincing you I’m not cheap. It’s more confusing than that, because my problem with buying tickets for these events is not about having to purchase a ticket, it’s that the ticket automatically includes a heavy cloth bound copy of the book. Two things (among many) I’ve picked up from J over the years: I always come to a full stop at STOP signs, and I no longer very rarely buy hard backs. So, I’m willing to buy your ticket, I just don’t want to buy your book.

I’m sure Smith’s agent set up the event this way, and hopefully it works to both her advantage and the store’s, but I would like to see another option, the one that includes a less expensive ticket to attend the event without having to purchase the book. And isn’t that the rub for independent book sellers these days? I love your free events thankyouverymuch, but I’ll get the e-book from Amazon, or borrow a copy from the library, or wait for it to come out in paperback and buy it from you later (something I really mean but loyalty is fickle and they can’t count on that). On the one hand, it’s economics and nothing new (where libraries and paperbacks are concerned). On the other hand, independents are operating on brave new digital terrain and it’s a difficult battle for them to wage, so I don’t blame them for the book-ticket bundle. I’m just not sure I want to buy it.

Anyway, as for this fall, and the promise of new words it brings – Rowling! Chabon! Kingsolver! – I couldn’t be more excited, even though I can only read so much. But as Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, an owner of Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, remarks about this literary bounty, “It’s certainly a good problem to have.”

Of course, unless I change my tune about buying books in hardcover, maybe it’s time to finally read Freedom.

What are you reading these days? And, more importantly, what is Chloe Sevigny reading? Find out!

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6 Responses to “You can only read so much”

  1. emily says:

    I’ve just finished _Fugitive Pieces_ by Anne Michaels. Loved.

  2. chris says:

    I’m really looking forward to reading the new Chabon (am 19th on the waiting list at the library…no hard-back purchases here either, unless it’s a book I’m DYING to read as soon as it comes out). Just finished ‘The Flight of Gemma Hardy’ (liked it well enough) and am about to start Tom Perrotta’s ‘The Leftovers,’ about which I’ve heard only good things. This is the best time of year for us book lovers. I LOVE FALL.

    • randasfans says:

      GC – are you on Goodreads? Would love to connect there. I’m equal parts excited and trepidatious about the Chabon – I love him, and yet, I still haven’t made it all the way through the Yiddish Policemen’s Union. You’re the one who kept insisting I stick with Kavalier and Clay, which I ended up adoring. So I guess we’ll see!

  3. Kim says:

    I cannot believe I didn’t know about the new BK. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Pingback: A Long Emergency | Randa's Fans

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