Having nothing to do on this God-forsaken day, I wandered into Borders. It is not a bookstore of which I approve. It is not really a bookstore at all; it is more of a vast reading library which keeps really long hours and gives you the option of buying books and magazines if you want to take them home. Of course, it should not be open today, because we should be in Church, but Borders has no borders.
Anyway, it was an opportunity to make observations about the state of the publishing industry. I thought these things might be clues:
1. Books have been published from contributions to Postsecret and Engrish. What is the point? These books cost money and, although it does not say so on their covers, are not updated regularly. Who are they for - people who do not use Internet for recreational purposes at work; people who have never found any interesting sites and use Internet just for banking and bus timetables; people who don't like computers? At least these books give those of us who have been visiting these sites for years the satisfaction of knowing that we were ahead of the curve.
2. The Second World War will never end, although it is now being fought by historians and veterans.
3. You can judge a book by its cover. Books with embossed lettering on their covers are very bad books. This is helpful for blind customers buying books for their sighted friends. Novels with pink covers are written for women. Men don't read.
4. About sixty per cent of new books are set in Tuscany. They are either: anecdotes of over-stressed advertising executives who gave it all up for the simple life among comical and colourful peasants; or: novels written by the same over-stressed advertising executives about their thinly-veiled autobiographical selves.
5. It is a shame that so many people have a novel inside them. It is usually a very bad novel.
6. The political is the personal. Every politician of note has to write a book; it always explains the politician's politics in terms of his or her "personal journey."
7. John Grisham wants to be Harper Lee, over and over again.
I could go on. Instead here is a song about 19th Century English literature by the Jefferson Airplane, which I post here to remind us all how unutterably gorgeous Grace Slick once was.