Pondering the delight of a paperback book and how often I’ve grabbed whatever was in the to read pile based on its size and comfort of fitting into my bag or purse as I rushed out the door. I wouldn’t be caught anywhere with out something to read. I have a bedroom book read mostly at night or when I just want to snuggle for a half hour to get away from household chores. There is the bathroom magazine collection with items set aside for whenever a long soak in the tub is needed but I would never take a real book in there. Then there is the traveling book, something I must have in the car or in my purse. Most often something I keep meaning to read. The stack sits patiently waiting for the right carry all bag to fit in.
Yet, while often the quick grab of the paperback novel has led to reading only bits and pieces while waiting in lines or a quick lunch, there are those occasions when I’ve been surprised and unable to get the story out of my mind.
Such as the novel Harriet (1934, published by Valancourt books) by Elizabeth Jenkins; a hauntingly sad and intriguing story. I read the first few pages one evening waiting for a class to start and couldn’t wait to get home. A slim volume, I read it again the next week because it kept haunting me and I wanted to get some of the details reaffirmed in my head. Over the years I’ve gone back to it, astonished by the horror and sadness that was so irresistible.
its also through paperback that I discovered I like Science Fiction. Not something I would normally gravitate towards, but you know they are such a nice size.
I wondered why so many science fiction books especially in paperback are collections of short stories. I found a delightful article regarding the history of the paperback by Andrew Liptak in Kirkus and discovered the answer; science fiction wasn’t generally thought of as a grand narrative or novel subject. They started as magazine articles; so many collections today of an authors work will consist of those short stories. Which works out so well for people like me, who wouldn’t normally have chosen the genre. In the paperback collection we are introduced to an author through several selections or several authors at once on a particular topic. “5 Unearthly Visions” (ed. Groff Conklin from Fawcett Books) stands out for me with its twist on the bank robber/crime drama by Eric Frank Russell and as always amazing cover art work by Richard Powers.
As a small side note I also have to include the really pulp feature of the paperback, the tv and film related books. I’m currently enjoying a Partridge family novelette, a mystery called “Terror by Night” (written by Vic Crume published by Curtis Books). Delightful, nicely written and of course, so cute to flashback to my favorite singing TV family. One of those sweet cozy mysteries that puts you wishfully in the mix.
What usually happens when I share, now I have to read a few things again. Where did I put that copy of Harriet?
Blessings on those paper cuts!