I went to Literati today. There is just something about independent bookstores that helps me justify spending an inordinate amount of money on something I could get on amazon for a third of the price. As my grandmother would say, “We like to support the local community.”
So I’m standing there looking at the memoirs, books on writing, ect. and I hear a voice I recognize. I turn around and sure enough my supervisor for my internship last summer is at the counter. I should preface that this woman made me miserable and was impossible to please. So I did what any good comedy has taught me to do, I pulled out a book from the shelf and pretended to be engrossed in it and deliberately hid my face. I swear to you, next thing I know this women who I despise is standing six inches away from me looking at the same shelf I am. Unlike a movie however my disguise worked and thankfully there was no awkward encounter but it was to close for comfort.
Anyway the assignment.
Surrounded by books with titles like Changing the Subject, Bad Feminist and I Think You’re Totally Wrong, I found myself thinking this is it. If I were to ever write a book this is the type of book I would want it to be. One that highlights the voice of the author and the subject doesn’t even matter. I picked up lots of the books and flipped through them and almost every one that I stopped to read made me want to buy it so I could finish reading it.
One of the things I’ve been thinking about since I left (besides the regret I have about not buying more of the books) is why are there so many books beautifully written about writing? Is it as simple as writers are writers and thats what they know and therefore are good at it? Part of me hopes that’s not the case. But how come there are no beautifully written book about putting engines together? Is it audience? Do mechanics not want to be told poetically how to attach a muffler?
Another thing I found compelling about this side of the book store is how many of the books didn’t solely contain writing. They let form help steer the reader and narrative. There was this really interesting book called In Other Words. The narrative described this woman’s overwhelming urge to learn Italian and is this beautiful love letter to Italy. What’s cool about the book is that one side is written in Italian and the other in English. I thought that was a unique way to let form also be a participant in the story telling.
In the end, I left with two new books in my bag and 37 fewer dollars in my pocket.