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Monday Musings, Vol. 1

Today, HBE offers a first volume of "Monday Musings" ...
Today, HBE offers a first volume of "Monday Musings" ...Valeri

Hi All,

After much deliberation—well, a scattering of thoughts, really—I’ve decided to start a new feature on HBE: Monday Musings. This won’t be a weekly thing, but rather a sporadic affair that will allow me to share my bookish ponderings with you when I’ve got nothing more timely to offer.

First, I have not stepped foot in a bookstore in more than a week. Twelve days to be exact. This is highly unusual behavior for me, and I’m not feeling at all good about it. Lest you think I’ve made a conscious decision to a) wean myself off books (or the buying of them), b) broaden my retail patronage, or c) become an online consumer, know that this has simply been the result of first-time home ownership—and all of the time consuming joys that come along with it. (And we don’t even technically own the house yet.)

Second, I am sensing a trend: mysteries/thrillers in the vein of The Da Vinci Code that center upon literary luminaries of a bygone era. I am currently reading Barry M. Libin’s new and intriguing debut, The Mystery of the Milton Manuscript (Urim Publications, $24.95), which explores a conspiracy to conceal the true meaning of Paradise Lost. And T. Stephens’ Dante’s Cypher (2013) just landed in my mailbox. It may be more a matter of timing than trending—but all this talk of conspiracy leaves me leery of coincidence!

Third, if you are of my age (thirty-something), you may be surprised to know that Lois Lowry’s Newbery Medal-winning novel, The Giver, was published in 1993. This is because you were made to read it as part of your elementary school curriculum, which thereby left you with the mistaken impression that it was less contemporary and more classic. Turns out it’s a contemporary classic. And you can now check out the feature film adaptation at a movie theater near you …

Fourth, I’m feeling bad for all the authors who have been caught in the crosshairs of this whole Amazon debacle. (If you’re unsure of what I speak, kindly step out from beneath that rock! I kid.) While established powerhouses like James Patterson can speak openly about their dissatisfaction without fear that sales will evaporate—and we commend them for doing so—midlisters are in a far more precarious position. It’s a sad day when they, and their publishers, are made to feel like there’s a bully on the playground.

And fifth, do dare to venture to a bookstore near you ASAP, whether it be your local indie or a Barnes & Noble. Though the convenience and cost savings proffered by your computer may be tempting, there will come a time that the allure of human contact will win out. But if you keep putting it off, you may just find that those brick-and-mortars have shuttered their doors. Now is the time. And who knows? I may just see you there. After all, I’m overdue for a book-buying excursion myself …

Until next time,

John