Ah, June. One of the great, transitional months. Spring becomes Summer. The wool coats get packed away. Everybody moves up a grade, except for the graduates, who get ready to move out. And we officially switch the central air from HEAT to COOL. Personally, I’ve been celebrating the new summer by dancing in my neighbor’s sprinklers every morning after she goes to work. Highly recommended. If that’s not your thing, this hot weather is also the perfect opportunity to hunker down in an air-conditioned bookstore and love you some books.
1. Cliché Police. For every masterful turn-of-phrase out there, there’s a tired fraud preying upon innocent readers. And how could we know better? We’re just wide-eyed book lovers, wishing to believe the best about the authors we love. That’s why we need fearless defenders like Rosecrans Baldwin watching our backs, letting us know when the simple mention of a distant, barking dog, is a red flag for unoriginality.
2. Law & Order: Book Victims Unit. Speaking of defenders of literature, cops in Boise, Idaho, have taken down a serious threat to the book community. For over a year, a 74-year-old woman was pouring condiments into Library book-drops. They finally caught her, red-handed, wielding a jar of mayonnaise with intent to dump. It’s a sick world.
3. Highbrow, Lowbrow, Allbrows. Peter Carey rails against an ever-stupider readership. Bryce Courtenay calls him a snob. Then the lady from Boise starts spraying everyone with mustard. Decide for yourself.
4. Better Addictions. The only draw for smoking cigarettes, as far as I can tell, is rolling the pack up in your shirt sleeve, like River Phoenix in Stand By Me. Now the London-based Tank has saved my street-cred with TankBooks. These little pocket novels (titles include Heart of Darkness, The Metamorphosis, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) are sized and packaged like packs of cigarettes. Now that’s an addiction I can get behind.
5. David v. Goliath. I understand the appeal of the iPad. It’s so slick. It’s so shiny. It’s so portable. And more and more, people are reading their books off of the iPad or other electronic faux-book devices. But in favor of convenience, what are we losing?
6. New News. I’ve plugged blackout poetry before, because it’s poetry that anyone can write … since you’re not actually WRITING anything. Genius. Uncomfortable with vandalizing a book? Just have at the newspaper.
7. Shakespearean Vernacular. One of the pitfalls of being an author, or any type of artist for that matter, might be the overwhelming feeling that you aren’t making a difference. You’re not digging wells or curing diseases. You’re hanging out inside your head all day. You’re a professional at assuming that people care about what goes on in your head all day. Wait! I have a point. But without authors, like Will Shakespeare, we’d be bereft of so many beautiful turns of phrase. Click. So go back to staring out the window, we need you.
8. The Lego Printer. I’m just going to let the video speak for itself.
June, I would say something witty about you, but you just gave me heat stroke.