Tuesday 25 Oct 2016

The Feel of a Book
AJ Robinson

These days there are many eBook reading machines. My wife has a Kindle, there’s the new Kindle Fire and then there’s the Nook. There are also generic readers and I’ve even helped a couple people convert their books to various eBook formats. Yet, the feel of an actual, printed and bound, book sets it apart from all of these.

A while back, my daughter and I enjoyed an episode of the new “Dr Who” that was set in “The Library." As the Doctor said, it had no name, just a great big old “The” in front of it. It was an entire planet converted into a library. It was full of good old-fashion books.

Oh, would I have loved to wander through that place! As a kid, I always enjoyed going to Robbins Library in Arlington, MA, and the library in Oak Bluffs during the summer. Both were places where I could just lose myself for a few hours or a whole day in, well, anything.

At first, it was simple picture books and the odd Dr Seuss. Then it was easy chapter books and some nonfiction stuff. I loved history and science, so I’d check out books about early American history, Italy, and so on.

Some of the books were a little too complicated, for me at the time. Still, each one had great pictures, especially the art of Italy. If the book had pictures of Florence, where my mom was from, I truly loved it.

As an adult, I still enjoyed books and amassed quite the collection. One minus to books is their weight. My library was heavy! Normally, when you’re living in a house, that’s not an issue, but when you’re young and moving a lot, it is. Over time, I had to downsize my library, which hurt; giving up each book was like saying good-bye to an old friend.

Then transition occurred in to my relationship with books. I became a writer. At first, I tried my hand at a full novel. I had an idea I really wanted to put on paper. I did it, and that was about it; no agent or publisher would give me the time of day. Who was I to write a book? I had no credentials. My book sat on a shelf, so to speak.

I started to learn more about writing. I branched out into short stories and articles, and I joined writers’ groups. One such group helped me with my first publication, a short story in their quarterly magazine.

I was a published author.

It wasn’t much, but it was my first credential. More followed, and then came the most important of all: a publisher accepted one of my novels. There was the submittal, the contract, the artist for the cover and the editing. Oh gawd, the editing was hell! Any writer will tell you, editing bites. I’d sooner eat eggplant parmesan every night for a week instead of deal with editing. Anyone who knows me will realize just what that means – as much as I hate that dish. Yet, the result made it all worth it. Finally, there came the day when I held MY book in my hand.

Yeah, the feel of that book was especially good.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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