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This isn't what it looks like, wait, I can explain...   —   Books

When I was fourteen years old I would go to the bookstore with my mom and while she was undoubtedly busy looking for books on Native American wisdom and ways, I would disappear into the Horror section of the store to look for a new novel to add to my growing collection. Swearing off King and Rice from the beginning, they were too trendy don't you know, I would set out to discover someone new, some unknown gem. At fourteen years old I didn't know shit about shit, so I'd scan the shelves for nothing in particular just anything that caught my eye. One such book was called Usher's Passing, by Robert McCammon. I had no idea who McCammon was at the time, all I knew was the cover of the book was cool and the synopsis sounded good. I read the first page then flipped to the middle to read a random page, satisfied I took my find and presented it to my mother for her to purchase. She would grimace but say nothing, knowing that the movies she permitted me to watch were no better than anything I could pick up in paperback form. I read Usher's Passing and loved it, went to the bookstore and picked up Mine, another McCammon novel, and loved it, went to the bookstore and ... couldn't find any more McCammon. This was before Internet (a very dark era indeed) so little did I know that most of Robert McCammon's books at that time were out of print. He'd been published mostly in the 80's and by 1992 there was little left on the shelf by the man. So, being a teenager, I quickly moved on, and it wasn't until a few years ago that the name Robert McCammon set off some sparks in my memory bank. Suddenly manic with a hunger that could only be quenched by McCammon I set off for Ebay to look for whatever I could of his works. It was there I found a man selling his collection of Robert McCammon novels, which just so happened to be every one ever published. And for as little as thirty bucks. A week later my box of treasure arrive in the mail, I clear off a book shelf just for him and immediately stack them chronologically.

I've read a little less than half of them so far, I'm in no big hurry to run out of new McCammon to read so I take my time and never read one right after another. So far I've stuck to the newer novels, not out of any purpose they're just the ones that have struck my fancy I guess. But now I'm reading Stinger, published in the 80's, and I've run into a bit of an unexpected problem. Most of these books are pretty old, their paper is yellowing, and their covers are brittle. I'm pretty rough on books, I carry whatever I'm reading most everywhere I go so they get tossed into bags and purses, mingling with the wallet and the keys and lord knows what else. They're tossed at the floor of my bed at 1:00AM, booklight still attached, they lose themselves on the coffee table under mail and Netflix envelopes. Their pages get wet from my fingers when I read in the bathtub, and they occasionally get droplets of food here and there as I read while eating my lunch. There's even a few books that sport Tsunami's teeth marks for the times he bites my book while I'm trying to read. A few have tea stains, one has a lipstick stain, and the oddest things find homes between the pages. A feather, a flower, a movie ticket, plane ticket, hospital bracelet, a whisker. My books are loved fiercely and for that they suffer physically.

So when I started to read Stinger and discovered the cover of the book slowly crumbling every time I took it out of my purse, I was horrified. Normally I'd chalk it up to building the objects character but these McCammon books are somewhat precious to me. After only a week of reading the novel five pieces of the cover had torn, cracked, and fallen off like it'd developed leprosy. I'd decided then that I needed, and was suddenly desperate for, a book cover. Remembering a time when I had scoffed at them I was now eagerly seeking them out, a bizarre turn of events all in an effort to conserve the cover of a horror novel published in 1988. We all have our priorities, and this is apparently one of mine. I purchased one through ebay after having no luck at any local bookstores, and though I was lucky to find one that I find attractive, I am now one of those people. Taking out a covered book on the subway attracts everyone's attention. People just have to know what you're reading. I think they're pretty convinced it's some kind of pornographic romance novel the way they crane their heads so that they may glimpse the title on the page or read a sentence from the text. The funny thing is no one is subtle about it. I guess it's funnier for me to see the expression on their face when they read parts like, "She smiled, fluid running from the wound on her face, and then she gripped Pete's wrists, put her foot against his chest, and yanked. Both arms ripped out of their sockets. The jittering torso collapsed, Pete's mouth still working but only a whisper of shock coming out." It's those times I want to glance up at the person, smile, and ask, "Want to be friends?"

Posted 8.14.2006 11:53:45 PM

Julia wrote:
Have you read "Boys Life"?
That is one of my all-time favorite books.
Posted 4/3/2007 4:01:01 PM
Doll wrote:
I have! It's a favorite, for sure. I laughed, I cried, etc.
Posted 4/3/2007 4:14:47 PM
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