Book Work

A well-meaning friend gave me a copy of Gabrielo Zaid’s “So Many Books” to read while on the promotion tour of my own book.

“The reading of books is growing arithmetically; the writing of books is growing exponentially” Zaid’s book begins; “a new book is published every 30 seconds”.

After twenty days on the road, I don’t much need reminding of this. Several of my stops have been at large bookstores where the vanity of expecting one’s book to be noticed, let alone read, amid acres of new titles, would be sad if it were not also laughable. But Zaid counsels writers to think about the purpose of their of their work not as commanding the attention of millions, but as starting conversations that will end…who knows where. At one point he argues that commerce, too, is best thought of as conversation – thereby persuading me that this curious but exhilarating book tour is indeed a form of work.