Yesterday was actually a lot of fun; Erin Mitchell had tagged me on a Facebook thing where you have to post seven covers of favorite books without an explanation; just post the cover and that was it. Quite naturally, my first selection was Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann; and then as I started looking up covers (Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier was the second) I started remembering other favorites from long ago; a lovely sort of triggering memories. Before I knew it I was up to twenty-one covers, and hadn’t even remotely begun to scratch the surface. But engaging with people on social media in such a positive way, about books we all read and loved and remembered so fondly, was one of the most positive experiences involving social media that I can remember having in a long time; social media has become so dank and dark and enraging; a stark reminder of the societal rifts and divisions in not just our country, but in the world. I think I am going to continue posting images of book covers that I love, because there are so many books that I love.
And isn’t doing something positive on social media for a change a really good thing?
I have always been an avid reader; as long as I can remember I was always reading something. Trying to pick influences when being interviewed is never an easy thing for me; everything I’ve ever read has influenced me in some way. Where did my love for history come from? I remember reading Genevieve Foster’s wonderful ‘horizontal history’ books for kids, like George Washington’s World and Abraham Lincoln’s World; but I had to be interested in history before that in order to have picked those up in the first place (they are, for the record, extraordinary books packed full of information and analysis; her explanation of how the marriage of Maximilian of Austria and Mary of Burgundy in 1476 was a direct cause of every major European war from that point on until 1914 was something that always has stuck with me; it was the marriage that created the enmity and rivalry between the French and the Germans, fighting over Flanders and Alsace-Lorraine for centuries, and often dragging the rest of Europe into the war with them); it was American history that interested me from the first, and then that extrapolated into British history, than European and to a lesser degree, world. But I was always fascinated by ancient history as well; Egypt and Greece and Rome. I don’t know how or where that came from; paging through encyclopedias, perhaps. I do know that I read every volume of the World Book Encyclopedia that my parents bought for my sister and I when we were very young, from cover to cover; and I always had a really good memory for things that interested me. Posting these book covers brought back so many memories…of all the times I retreated from a world I didn’t fit into on the back porch of our upstairs apartment in Chicago with a book; all the times I went into my bedroom in whatever house we were living with a book and shut the door, escaping into a different world.
I have been working on the introduction to my short story collection; debating whether or not to pull one of the stories or not (actually two; they are out for submission but one is nearing the one-year anniversary of its submission date, and the other was sent to the same market so….while it would totally suck to invalidate the submission by publishing them in my collection and then have them accepted; I am thinking it’s probably prudent to pull them and replace them with other stories, saving them for either Kindle singles or another collection at a later date, but that might mean delaying the collection, unless I can finish another two stories this weekend, which is always possible…see how that works?)
And on that note, back to the spice mines.