Last year we wrote down goals in our writers' group and hid the bits of paper in a box. Soon we'll open the box. But will we have achieved our goals?
The trick, of course, is to recognize we've all reached some goals, even if they weren't ours. I didn't get my books onto the shelves of Powells, but I got some into Jacobsens. Did I sell any? Probably not. But then, where would you expect to sell books in these modern, hitech days?
On the internet?
Amazon has this nice "look inside" feature, so you can flip through pages, read a bit, decide what you'd like... But Amazon also has an awful lot of books. So do BarnesandNoble.com, and Powells.com, and more. And in this haystack, stacked to the virtual sky, who will find my words?
In a bookstore?
My latest dream is to get one of my books onto the shelves of Foyles in London. But it's not a goal. Somehow goals have to be something I believe I can achieve. Foyles? Nah, that's just a dream. And even if my book were there, would you find it among those glorious well-appointed shelves?
At a craft bazaar?
Our writers' group sold quite a few books at the bazaar. But we counted our sales on one hand, some of us on one finger. Maybe one of us rode the wave from red to black in the accounting book, but people at craft bazaars aren't really looking for books.
At a Holiday Cheer book event?
So where would you sell books? And where would you read them?
With the book sales over, I'm now frantically buying books as Christmas gifts. I'm buying from the internet, from real book stores, and from Holiday Cheer. I bought scarves and birthday cards from the craft fair. And I finished reading the books I'm about to review. So, find some coffee; check the color, strength and flavor of the brew; and pick up a book.
If you pick up one of mine I'll be very happy and think it's Christmas!
My first book today is Radiomen, by Eleanor Lerman. Combining good old-fashioned crystal radios with a touch of science fiction, social commentary, and even a delicate tinge of spiritual musing, it's a cool first-person novel of ex-hippie, now-bartender existence existentially changed by a chance call to a late-night chat-show. And it's great. Humor, pathos, mystery and more, enjoy this perfect blend with an elegant, complex 4-star coffee.
Next is The Way The World Is, by Yael Politis - second in her Olivia series, and a beautiful continuation of the first story. Olivia's youthful enthusiasms slowly temper into age, while her naivete grows into sincere determination. Detroit at the end of slavery becomes a very real place, filled with genuine and fascinating characters, and all the excitement, fear and loss of runaways. It's a haunting tale and stands alone perfectly, though you should probably read Olivia, Mourning first. Enjoy with some bold dark intense 5-star coffee.
Not Forgotten, by Donna Zadunajsky, tells the story of a woman returning home and rediscovering her past, while all around are hurt, and the past is filled with pain. It's a slow, hard tale, told in a chatty, casual voice. Lots of unpredictable twists and turns, and a wealth of detail, not always convincing, build into a truly intriguing plot. Enjoy with some bold dark intense 5-star coffee.
In a wholly different style, Anita Clenney's Heart of the Highland Warrior invites readers back into the lives of highlanders displaced in time and space. Here, history meets the present day, and demons meet vampires and more. There's plenty of humor as the ancient warriors learn of modern conveniences, and try to cope with modern, unsubmissive women. And there's plenty of action. The novel starts with a list of characters, but readers should probably start at the beginning of the series, and the interlocking storylines begin to get quite complicated by now. It's fast, fun and exciting. Enjoy with some bright, lively, easy-drinking 2-star coffee.
And finally, A Trip to the Hardware Store, by Barbara Venkataraman, offers a collection of humorous essays on everyday life. The wry humor is pleasing, especially in the first and last of this collection, though occasionally grating in the middle. It's a short pleasing read, best enjoyed with a mild, light coffee.
So now I'll make a trip to another bookstore, stare at those wonderful shelves, buy books, and wish my books were there.