09 February 2009

Doesn't fit into my (lush) life

So I'm finally reading Richard Price's LUSH LIFE, sort of. Finally, because this is the third time I have checked this member of the New York Books canon out of the library, and I don't know what I was thinking the first two, because it's really good. Sort of, because I was away all weekend and didn't bring it with me -- something that torpedoed at least my first attempt at reading Price's much acclaimed novel.

There are those who say the hardcover must be sacrificed to save the book industry; there are others who insist it must remain as the ne plus ultra of the printed word. To this latter group I say: Anyone want to carry my books for me? I'm really into LUSH LIFE so far, and yet I made no progress on it this weekend despite having ample reading time, because have you seen this book? It is a beast! I would say it's about the size and weight of 12 iPods, one of which I was also taking with me, but at least you can divide iPods among your various pieces of hand luggage. I probably would have finished it on my trip, too.

I know LUSH LIFE reaped the benefit of its hardcover presentation in one specific way: By getting a lot of positive notices from critics, which definitely contributed to my finding my (circuitous) way to the book. Some narrow-minded outlets won't even look at paperback originals; for this book, given its criminal plot, a paperback printing may have stuck it into mystery or true crime instead of getting it the attention of mainstream critics. But what I want to know is, should the hardcover be saved?


Elizabeth said...

Hardcovers are necessary for large, heavy books whose paperback covers would be ripped off during wear and tear: textbooks, cookbooks, etc.

But other than that: I don't see the point.

Also: I think long books (WAR AND PEACE, etc.) should be provided in small, manageable volumes. Because are you really going to read more than 500 pages at a time anyway? Plus, it makes me tired holding up large books if I'm reading in bed.

Emily said...

Small volumes (previous comment) are brilliant idea.

This is why it took me so long ot read "Infinite Jest"