This blog is basically about how good books are nice and bad books are the pits. And then I get grumpy.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Touched by an e-mail writing author...

There are papers tucked into copies of some of the books in my library. They're folded business-letter style and sit on my shelves waiting to be taken out, dusted off and unfolded carefully one day when they are brittle and yellowed. They're just copies of emails. In this computer age there's really no reason a computer print-out of an email should be handled so gingerly. Somewhere in cyberspace, I'm told, the message will always be hovering. So if I lose one, who cares?

I guess it's just a mark of a book-lover to fancy that a folded sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 that slips out of a novel five years from now is more romantic, will bring back more memories, than will logging on to a Mac or accessing data stored on a CD. So when I write to an author, this is what I do. And I think it makes my shelves more interesting, adds another story for them to tell beyond the dramas and comedies that already occupy spaces there.

It's a relatively new activity for me, this writing to authors. So far everyone I have written to has responded, and nicely, too. In one case I read Melanie Jeschke's Inklings and, knowing some places and people were based on the real thing, thought that I may have met someone whose fictional counterpart dwells in the pages of that book. I got a couple of really lovely emails from Ms Jeschke while we tried to sort out if my own inkling was right. In another case, I found what I thought to be an allusion to one character's future in the ending of Lorelei Mathias's Lost for Words, emailed, and was let in on the fact that it was actually the writer's joke about the book business. Another time, I happened upon Megan Crane's English as a Second Language in the store (a signed copy!) and enjoyed it. So I told her!

I think that these writers are not yet such big names that they can afford the time to email back to a reader. Not that I begrudge them a healthy readership, but I think it's rather nice that there are writers who are being read but are not so phenomenonally successful that they become unapproachable due to time, work, ego, or whatever. (And, as for being successful, I think just getting something good written and published and enjoyed by a few people who can then discuss it is being successful.)

I've got itchy fingers. I'd like to write to someone else. I'd better get reading....

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