The alchemy of reading

What happens when a room full of editors and agents get asked the question, “What would you do if you were Oprah for a day and could change the publishing industry?” Well for one, if you’re extremely lucky and make like Jane Goodall (stay still, downwind and silent), they’ll forget that you (lots and lots of writers) are there and inadvertently engage in an industry meeting that *every* writer should witness. To every person involved in that panel at Words and Music, every agent and editor, thank you. I’m so glad that I and a gaggle of other writers got to see that. I was going to quote some of you because I did manage to jot down some of the pithier things you said verbatim. But the thing I think needs to be stressed most is that to change the publishing industry, we need to change the way our culture reads, change the way we think and speak about reading. When we love a book, we need to use the power of our voices and our fingers to tell everybody we know. At heart, despite everything else, writing and printing books has an intended goal – for people to read them (the “selling” and “buying” parts are secondary processes that allow the writing and printing to continue, but it’s not the goal or product). How can we forget, allow others to forget or neglect to teach our youth what it feels like to not only hold a book (paper, ink, words) in your hands and read it with our very own eyes and our very own minds and our very hearts, but to be transformed by a book. The alchemy that reading is capable of is like nothing else out there. Nothing.

That said, here’s a book that looks like it’ll be really good and I soooo wish somebody had asked me to write for, Zombies Versus Unicorns. Anybody wanna guess which side I’m on???? 🙂 And another book that I’m gonna read after hearing James Nolan read from it, Perpetual Care. And one of my favorite books ever, the one I buy every copy of in used bookstores to give as Christmas presents, re-read every year or so, Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon. That should keep you busy while I play hooky from writing conferences and writing both…

P.S. This is my 100th post.

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