Those who know me best know that I love few things more than a good book. Favorites are typically in the fiction genre – everything from legal thrillers to chick lit (now PC labeled as “women’s fiction” I guess?)
If it’s engagingly written, or informative without being pretentious, I’m probably going to love it.
And then give it away. If not to a friend, then in a donation run. Or, if I’m really generous on time and willing to be offered an insultingly low price, maybe a reseller outfit.
There are six, though, that I will never give away. Through the combined good fortune of my vocation and the thoughtfulness of family and friends, these six titles include personalized notes – making them among my most prized possessions.
My favorite inscription is from Scott Turow, a note he jotted down after my husband had introduced himself, using the then still cursed Cubbies as an opener.
We’d just listened to Turow’s remarks, the opening session of Hoover Public Library’s deservedly heralded Southern Voices Festival.
He’d made us laugh until our sides hurt (the time he attempted nonchalantly to introduce his young daughter to “Mr. Ford”, only to have her run upstairs and squeal to her babysitter, “Indiana Jones is in my living room!”).
He’d also spoken candidly about his approach to the creative process, giving us non-patronizing insight into the unglamorous discipline required in this craft.
So his note meant a heck of a lot more to me than what he could have written (a la “Best wishes” or some other meaningless scribble).
I think of it often. Not because what he wrote makes the exercise of writing any easier.
Indeed, I’ve never seen the process described as well as Ernest Hemingway’s assessment:
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
But because it was written in the context of two guys talking baseball, one a successful author untainted by fame, the other a husband who just wanted his wife to know that this little hobby of hers isn’t a silly, pointless endeavor.