Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Curse of FREE BOOKS.

There’s a used bookstore in my town that is stuffed to the rafters with material. The overflow ends up in cardboard boxes outside the store. I can’t walk by without checking through the latest free offerings. It’s a curse.

I know I shouldn’t be complaining about getting something for free. I would be upset if the FREE BOOKS box disappeared. But like the proverbial lunch, free books can have conditions attached.

My apartment is stuffed to the rafters with tomes. I don’t need any more. I have too many now. So many that it’s easy to lose one title among the printed matter maelstrom that dominates my small dwelling. The other day I wanted to consult a HTML book for a bit of code I needed. Couldn’t find it. After I gave up and didn’t need the book, it decided to suddenly appear.

And here’s another damning aspect of the curse: a plethora of books but no surfeit of time to read even a fraction of them.

Usually a book by a marginal author –- one who succeeded in getting published and attracting some readers –- ends up in the castoffs, making room for the popular stuff like King or Koontz that remains safe inside the bookstore, out of the elements. Even if the planet blows up, there are so many copies of King and Koontz titles floating around, omnipresent like cockroaches, that their work will survive, all thanks to the law of averages, not the law of intrinsic worth.

But what really bugs me is that after all these years I’ve never had a story or book published, never made it even to the margin.

Those damn, depressing FREE BOOKS.

1 comment:

Doug said...

I find going to bookstores more depressing than inspiring for that very reason: I already have shelves full I haven't read (and some I probably never will), and yet there's still so much more out there.

Where's the neutron bomb when you need it?

(Yes, Twilight Zone reference.)