When I went for my medical school interview, I had an old paperback of 'Henderson the Rain King' in the pocket of my coat. I was wearing the best clothes I had - a pair of cords and a sport coat - but when I got to the office, all the other interviewees were lined up in their black suits.
There was a mission: To match the cover of 'Extraordinary' to the cover of the paperback 'Impossible,' which was commercially successful. Consider the outdoor natural setting, the single girl in motion with her hair blowing, and the cursive font used for the title; both covers have these in common.
The notorious tendency of conservative apologists and New Age paperback writers alike is to leap from mere possibility to the right to believe. "If there might be space aliens, we can assume there are." "If the idea of Atlantis is not impossible, we can take it for granted." "If the traditional view of gospel authorship cannot be definitievely debunked, we can go right on assuming it's truth." No, you can't.
Robert M. Price
On the dashboard of our family car is a shallow indentation about the size of a paperback book. If you are looking for somewhere to put your sunglasses or spare change, it is the obvious place, and it works extremely well, I must say, so long as the car is not actually moving. However, as soon as you put the car in motion ... everything slides off ... It can hold nothing that has not been nailed to it. So I ask you: what then is it for?
You will be interested to hear, Hilary, that it [the drug] had a most remarkable effect "" even on Selena after a very modest quantity. She cast off all conventional restraints and devoted herself without shame to the pleasure of the moment." I asked for particulars of this uncharacteristic conduct. "She took from her handbag a paperback edition of Pride and Prejudice and sat on the sofa reading it, declining all offers of conversation.
You will be interested to hear, Hilary, that it [the drug] had a most remarkable effect - even on Selena after a very modest quantity. She cast off all conventional restraints and devoted herself without shame to the pleasure of the moment." I asked for particulars of this uncharacteristic conduct. "She took from her handbag a paperback edition of Pride and Prejudice and sat on the sofa reading it, declining all offers of conversation.
Recently while browsing in a secondhand bookstore I bought a paperback copy of The Intellectual and the City, but I was unable to read it. When I got home I discovered that the original owner had highlighted the entire book - literally. Every line on every page had been drawn through with a bright green Magic Marker. It was a terrifying example of a mind that had lost all power of discrimination.
Today you can buy the Dialogues of Plato for less than you would spend on a fifth of whiskey, or Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire for the price of a cheap shirt. You can buy a fair beginning of an education in any bookstore with a good stock of paperback books for less than you would spend on a week's supply of gasoline.
And of course these days I feel like there is a nation of us - displaced southerners and children of the working class. We listen to Steve Earle, Mary J. Blige, and k.d. lang. We devour paperback novels and tell evil mean stories, value stubbornness above patience and a sense of humor more than a college education. We claim our heritage with a full appreciation of how often it has been disdained. And let me promise you, you do not want to make us angry.
I don't care if it's Bruno Mars or Aerosmith or ZZ Top... it's about songs. 'Paperback Writer,' 'Satisfaction,' 'Cat Scratch Fever,' 'Walk This Way,' all the killer songs in the world start with an identifiable guitar pattern that is basically a bastardization of either honky-tonk or boogie-woogie. And that's in every cool piece of music in the world that you and I love.
Learning is available at the library for free; under a tree with a dog-eared paperback; at a job with a boss who gives you responsibility and mentorship; while traveling; while leading a cause, movement, or charity; while writing a novel or composing a poem or crafting a song; while interning, apprenticing, or volunteering; while playing a sport or immersing yourself in a language; while starting a business; and now, while watching a TED talk or taking a Khan Academy class...
Even a paperback printed on acidic paper, whose pages have yellowed ten years on, can still be read, no matter how badly the spine is cracked or how inflated it's become from being dropped in the bathtub. The pages might separate from the spine, but a rubber band can keep them together. You may loan a book to your circle of closest friends, but shoes are another matter. A great book will never go out of style - books go with every outfit.
Carefully squeezing through the forest of adults that crowded the aisles, feeling like an intruder in a forbidden temple, he cautiously pushed deeper into the newsstand and found a new paperback by a writer whose novel about vampires he had read and reread until the cover was falling apart. There had been an all-black cover on the vampire book. This new one gleamed like polished chrome. It was called THE SHINING, but it cost $2.50 and he had spent all but $1.25 of his weekly allowance on some STAR WARS stuff at the mall.
C. Dean Andersson
Her guardian sighed and looked back down at his book. "I can't tell you how much I look forward to these mature and scintillating conversations. Still, when the old Ari pays a visit, let me know." "Old Ari? I was sarcastic to you before." "True." He nodded, turning the page on the paperback. "But there was this era bewteen scared, sarcastic Ari and this new-fangled five year old Ari where you were actually a decent person to be around." Ouch. "Bite me." Jai grinned slyly and looked up at her from under his lashes. "Just tell me how hard.
When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
It's time for bed. And here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to get in bed, and I don't have anyone to sleep with now, so what I do is I sleep with my books. And I know that's kind of weird and solitary and pathetic. But if you think about it, it's very cozy. Over a period of four, five, six, seven, nine, twenty nights of sleeping, you've taken all these books to bed with you, and you fall asleep, and the books are there. Some of the books are thick, and some are thin, some of the books are in hardcover and some in paperback. Sometimes they get rolled up with the pillows and the blankets. And I never make the bed. So it's like a stew of books. The bed is the liquid medium. It's a Campbell's Chunky Soup of books. The bed you eat with a fork.
...Mr. Wodehouse is a prose stylist of such startling talent that Frankie nearly skipped around with glee when she first read some of his phrases. Until her discovery of Something Fresh on the top shelf of Ruth's bookshelf one bored summer morning, Frankie's leisure reading had consister primarily of paperback mysteries she found on the spinning racks at the public library down the block from her house, and the short stories of Dorothy Parker. Wodehouse's jubilant wordplay bore itself into her synapses like a worm into a fresh ear of corn.
I often get asked, 'Is the book dead?' It hasn't happened yet. It's different than music. Music was always meant to be pure sound - it started out as pure sound and now it's pure sound again. But books started out as things. Words on paper began as words on paper. The paperback book is the best technology to deliver that information to you.
How many times have you said, 'This is it. I've finally found my one true love'? And how many times has the reality turned out differently? Paperback romances and fairy tales promote an ideal of a first and only love, but few of us can claim to have had such uncomplicated good fortune. For most people, the process of finding the perfect partner is one trial and error: breakups, makeups, missed opportunities and misunderstandings. Human love is a fragile creation, and sometimes the smallest thing - the wrong choice of words or a single clumsy gesture - can make love shatter, stall or fade away.
I was coming up on a cross street when a man wearing a filthy suit stepped out from around the corner of the building ahead and directly into my path. Bent with age, he turned bleak red eyes to me and stared. Pressed with his chest to both hands he carried a paperback book as soiled and bereft as his suit. Are you one of the real ones or not? he demanded. And after a moment, when I failed to answer, he walked on, resuming his sotto voce conversation. A chill passed through me. Somehow, indefinably, I felt, felt with the kind of baffled, tacit understanding that we have in dreams , that I had just glimpsed one possible future self.
[D]on't ever apologize to an author for buying something in paperback, or taking it out from a library (that's what they're there for. Use your library). Don't apologize to this author for buying books second hand, or getting them from bookcrossing or borrowing a friend's copy. What's important to me is that people read the books and enjoy them, and that, at some point in there, the book was bought by someone. And that people who like things, tell other people. The most important thing is that people read...
In the shop window you have promptly identified the cover with the title you were looking for. Following this visual trail, you have forced your way through the shop past the thick barricade of Books You Haven't Read, which are frowning at you from the tables and shelves, trying to cow you... And thus you pass the outer girdle of ramparts, but then you are attacked by the infantry of Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered. With a rapid maneuver you bypass them and move into the phalanxes of the Books You Mean To Read But There Are Others You Must Read First, the Books Too Expensive Now And You'll Wait Till They're Remaindered, the Books ditto When They Come Out in Paperback, Books You Can Borrow From Somebody, Books That Everybody's Read So It's As If You Had Read Them, Too.
I became aware of Jews in my early teens, as I started to pick up the signals from the Christian church. Not that I was Christian - I'd been an atheist since I was five. But my father, a Congregational minister, had some sympathy with the idea that the Jews had killed Christ. But any indoctrination was offset by my discovery of the concentration camps, of the Final Solution. Whilst the term 'Holocaust' had yet to enter the vocabulary I was overwhelmed by my realisation of what Germany had perpetrated on Jews. It became a major factor in my movement towards the political left. I'd already read 'The Grapes of Wrath' by John Steinbeck, the Penguin paperback that would change my life. The story of the gas chambers completed the process of radicalisation and would, just three years later, lead me to join the Communist Party.
That evening, in her apartment, still in Warsaw, Ana takes down a book from her shelf - a rather thick, ordinary paperback. It looks old, because it's worn out and somehow shabby. But it's not ordinary. I can tell by the way she handles it so carefully, like something unique. 'This is the book I told you about, ' she says, holding out the Anthology of Feminist Texts, a collection of early American feminist essays, 'the only feminist book translated into the Polish language, ' the only such book to turn to when you are sick and tired of reading about man-eater/man-killer feminists from the West, I think, looking at it, imagining how many women have read this one copy. 'Sometimes I feel like I live on Jupiter, among Jupiterians, and then one day, quite by chance, I discover that I belong to another species. And I discover it in this book. Isn't that wonderful.
Sections in the bookstore - Books You Haven't Read - Books You Needn't Read - Books Made for Purposes Other Than Reading - Books Read Even Before You Open Them Since They Belong to the Category of Books Read Before Being Written - Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered - Books You Mean to Read But There Are Others You Must Read First - Books Too Expensive Now and You'll Wait 'Til They're Remaindered - Books ditto When They Come Out in Paperback - Books You Can Borrow from Somebody - Books That Everybody's Read So It's As If You Had Read Them, Too - Books You've Been Planning to Read for Ages - Books You've Been Hunting for Years Without Success - Books Dealing with Something You're Working on at the Moment - Books You Want to Own So They'll Be Handy Just in Case - Books You Could Put Aside Maybe to Read This Summer - Books You Need to Go with Other Books on Your Shelves - Books That Fill You with Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified - Books Read Long Ago Which It's Now Time to Re-read - Books You've Always Pretended to Have Read and Now It's Time to Sit Down and Really Read Them
LED lighting has its place: cold, detached, hollow places like office buildings, factories, fast food chains and public schools - places full of humans but no human emotions. LED lighting really belongs in the apathy of the digital age, where science and technology rules over friendship, love and freedom. Incandescent light bulbs have a warm yellow-orange glow like the glow of a nice fireplace, where friends and family might sit and talk together or where children might open Christmas presents, a glow that can project celluloid films and bring back old memories, a glow that can light the text of a paperback novel. Something that beautiful, with that much power, could never last very long in a time as depressing and uncertain as the 21st century.
Bit by bit, he has pared down his desires to what is now approaching a bare minimum. He has cut out smoking and drinking, he no longer eats in restaurants, he does not own a television, a radio, or a computer. He would like to trade his car in for a bicycle, but he can't get rid of the car, since the distances he must travel for work are too great. The same applies to the cell phone he carries around in his pocket, which he would dearly love to toss in the garbage, but he needs it for work as well and therefore can't do without it. The digital camera was an indulgence, perhaps, but given the drear and slog of the endless trash-out rut, he feels it is saving his life. His rent is low, since he lives in a small apartment in a poor neighborhood, and beyond spending money on bedrock necessities, the only luxury he allows himself is buying books, paperback books, mostly novels, American novels, British novels, foreign novels in translation, but in the end books are not luxuries so much as necessities, and reading is an addiction he has no wish to be cured of.
Then, idly scratching his nose, he walks to the bookcase in the living room and stoops before a set of drab brown Victorian volumes gathering dust on the second shelf from the bottom. How amusing, he thinks, as he withdraws one of them-amusing that a key to dark and ancient rites should survive in such innocuous-looking form. A young fool like Freirs would probably refuse to believe it. Like the rest of his doomed kind, he'd probably expect such lore to be found only in ancient leather-bound tomes with gothic lettering and portentously sinister titles. He'd search for it in mysterious old trunks and private vaults, in the "restricted" sections of libraries, in intricately carved wood chests with secret compartments. But there are no real secrets, the Old One knows. Secrets are ultimately too hard to conceal. The keys to the rites that will transform the world are neither hidden nor rare nor expensive. They are available to anyone. You can find them on the paperback racks or in any second-hand bookshop.
But where was God now, with heaven full of astronauts, and the Lord overthrown? I miss God. I miss the company of someone utterly loyal. I still don't think of God as my betrayer. The servants of God, yes, but servants by their very nature betray. I miss God who was my friend. I don't even know if God exists, but I do know that if God is your emotional role model, very few human relationships will match up to it. I have an idea that one day it might be possible, I thought once it had become possible, and that glimpse has set me wandering, trying to find the balance between earth and sky. If the servants hadn't rushed in and parted us, I might have been disappointed, might have snatched off the white samite to find a bowl of soup. As it is, I can't settle, I want someone who is fierce and will love me until death and know that love is as strong as death, and be on my side for ever and ever. I want someone who will destroy and be destroyed by me. There are many forms of love and affection, some people can spend their whole lives together without knowing each other's names. Naming is a difficult and time-consuming process; it concerns essences, and it means power. But on the wild nights who can call you home? Only the one who knows your name. Romantic love has been diluted into paperback form and has sold thousands and millions of copies. Somewhere it is still in the original, written on tablets of stone. I would cross seas and suffer sunstroke and give away all I have, but not for a man, because they want to be the destroyer and never the destroyed.
Little Red-Cap At childhood's end, the houses petered out into playing fields, the factory, allotments kept, like mistresses, by kneeling married men, the silent railway line, the hermit's caravan, till you came at last to the edge of the woods. It was there that I first clapped eyes on the wolf. He stood in a clearing, reading his verse out loud in his wolfy drawl, a paperback in his hairy paw, red wine staining his bearded jaw. What big ears he had! What big eyes he had! What teeth! In the interval, I made quite sure he spotted me, sweet sixteen, never been, babe, waif, and bought me a drink, my first. You might ask why. Here's why. Poetry. The wolf, I knew, would lead me deep into the woods, away from home, to a dark tangled thorny place lit by the eyes of owls. I crawled in his wake, my stockings ripped to shreds, scraps of red from my blazer snagged on twig and branch, murder clues. I lost both shoes but got there, wolf's lair, better beware. Lesson one that night, breath of the wolf in my ear, was the love poem. I clung till dawn to his thrashing fur, for what little girl doesn't dearly love a wolf? Then I slid from between his heavy matted paws and went in search of a living bird - white dove - which flew, straight, from my hands to his hope mouth. One bite, dead. How nice, breakfast in bed, he said, licking his chops. As soon as he slept, I crept to the back of the lair, where a whole wall was crimson, gold, aglow with books. Words, words were truly alive on the tongue, in the head, warm, beating, frantic, winged; music and blood. But then I was young - and it took ten years in the woods to tell that a mushroom stoppers the mouth of a buried corpse, that birds are the uttered thought of trees, that a greying wolf howls the same old song at the moon, year in, year out, season after season, same rhyme, same reason. I took an axe to a willow to see how it wept. I took an axe to a salmon to see how it leapt. I took an axe to the wolf as he slept, one chop, scrotum to throat, and saw the glistening, virgin white of my grandmother's bones. I filled his old belly with stones. I stitched him up. Out of the forest I come with my flowers, singing, all alone.
Carol Ann Duffy