Thursday, June 11, 2009

Books Received

Following is a list of books I have received over the past month or so: some were complimentary copies sent to me by the publisher because I had worked on the book, some were titles that I purchased myself, and others were part of submission packages from their respective authors. (Note: hc=hardcover, tp=trade paperback, mmpb=mass market paperback)

Kage Baker - The Empress of Mars (Subterranean Press, 2009) limited edition hc

Adam-Troy Castro - The Third Claw of God: An Andrea Cort Novel (Harper Collins EOS, 2009) mmpb

Paul Di Filippo - Fuzzy Dice (PS Publishing UK, 2003) limited edition slipcased hc

Andrew Fox - The Good Humor Man, Or, Calorie 3501 (Tachyon Publications, 2009) tp

Warren Lapine & Stephen Pagel, editors - Absolute Magnitude (Tor, 1997) tp

Ian R. MacLeod - Song of Time (PS Publishing UK, 2008) limited edition slipcased hc [winner of the 2009 Arthur C. Clarke Award]

Ian McDonald - Cyberabad Days (Orion Publishing/Golancz UK, 2009) hc

China Miéville - The City & the City (Macmillan UK, 2009) hc

The Best of Michael Moorcock (Tachyon Publications, 2009) tp

Patrick Ness - The Ask and the Answer: Chaos Walking, Book Two (Walker Books UK, 2009) hc

Mark Teppo - Lightbreaker: Book One of the Codex of Souls (Night Shade Books, 2009) mmpb

Catherynne M. Valente - Palimpsest (Bantam Books, 2009) tp

[True confessions follow.]

Do you believe that I am still purchasing books? Of the tweleve titles listed above, I purchased exactly half of them. I have probably 2,000 books that I have yet to read -- and I'm a slow reader, too, unfortunately. If I were to begin reading now, and could successfully read a book every other week, it would take me nearly 80 years to get through my library -- and that's assuming that I don't add any more titles! So you and I both know that most of these books will never get read, and yet I still buy new books. It's a disease: bibliomania, I think, which makes me a bibliomaniac! Or should that be a "biblioholic"? I have books double stacked on ten bookcases; I have books in boxes, the boxes stacked upon each other; books stacked upon the boxes, and books stacked on the floor. And yet I still buy books. Help me! I need help!

One of the major problems is that since I began work as a professional editor, I discovered that the only books I read were the books I was editing. Let's say I acquire a short story collection. Typically, if the collection is to be, say, 120,000 words, then I ask the author for at least 150,000 words of short fiction from which to select. I read all 150K words once, dump the stories I know immediately won't work for me, and then reread all the remaining stories at least once more, often more than once. Then the stories that make up the collection are formatted and printed and read yet again, and edited and/or copyedited. There's back-and-forth between me and the author on the edits. When the editing is complete, I go through the entire manuscript yet another time, just to be sure, because now I've worked out the story order. Then there are the page proofs that get copyedited. Bottom line, by the time I've completed a short story collection, I've probably read every story at least a half-dozen times. And then there are all the submissions that I receive that must eventually be read as well.

As much as I love acquiring and editing books, I really miss reading for myself, for pure enjoyment.

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