|I found this picture online. Somebody's great collection!|
I was listening to a Beatles CD as I walked briskly to the library. Paul McCartney was singing: " I want to be a paperback..." and I anticipated the next word as "reader." But the next word, of course, is "writer." And the song is "Paperback Writer."
My excuse for the slip-up is that I had not heard the song in years. Comical that I misremembered the whole concept, but perhaps it is because I love my role as a paperback reader - too much.
"Paperback reader" is not my only musical misdemeanor. I referred to a favorite Simon and Garfunkel song as "Kathy." You know it: the persona of the song and his girlfriend Kathy are riding on a Greyhound bus "looking for America." ("'Kathy,' I said as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh, 'Michigan seems like a dream to me now.'" To me, too. ) The song is called "America."
Music is not my forte, but I admire friends who play in a community orchestra and/or local rock band. Go to any poetry reading and you'll see my friend Janet lugging her cello down the aisle after a rehearsal of her string quartet. How delightful to top off music with a poetry reading.
My talents lie elsewhere. Reading paperbacks is one of my occupations (and I think I'll list it as my occupation on the tax form next year). I could spend hours and hours browsing in the paperback sections of bookstores. And I have. I prefer paperbacks to hardcovers: they make the best reading copies, one can scribble notes in the margins without worry, and who cares if the cover gets bent between the gym shoes and laptop in the totebag?
I have multiple paperback copies of my favorite classics. Should I keep the Maude translation in the Oxford edition of War and Peace, or the Anthony Briggs in the Penguin? Should I keep the Modern Library edition of Villette or the Vintage? I can't decide. I spent Sunday reorganizing a bookcase, and the best I could do was put the extras in a box.
Alas, some paperbacks do fall apart. My old Penguin of Pamela Hansford Johnson's Cork Street, Next to the Hatter's (1968), is at this point very, very fragile. There are still a few reads left, I think. I doubt it is in print. And the thin pages of my lovely used Norton edition of Anna Karenina grew so brittle and rumpled that I had to replace it. But Mr. Nemo does not replace any of his old books. He reads his old paperbacks without caring at all about the wear and tear.
Here is my question: Are you a paperback reader or a hardcover reader? Or an e-reader?