Hello, faithful readers of The Green Straw. It is I, Torie, also known as Yaffa’s “Beloved Roommate,” filling in for her while she is having adventures in the Windy City. I have nothing better to do, because while she has moved on to bigger and better things (Chicago or New Jersey, take your pick), I am still living life in the Heights. To further illustrate, when Yaffa returns she will have thrilling stories of seeing Lady Gaga up close and personal; the most exciting thing that happened to me today was that a creepy shirtless man watched me from his ground-floor window as I walked by. Though my life may not be as glamorous as that of my favorite Starbucks addict, I do have lots of time to practice making double beds and waxing poetic to anyone who will listen about the vices (he’s a jerk!) and virtues (but he’s such a pretty jerk!) of Don Draper.
As much as I enjoy the quiet life, though, my desire to emulate the life of Don & co is not what brought me to New York City this summer. I was lucky enough to land a summer internship at Writers House, a kick-ass literary agency with rockstar clients like Neil Gaiman and Sharon Creech and a bunch of authors who are less well-known but of rockstar quality nonetheless (also Stephanie Meyer, but that can of worms is better left for another entry entirely). It’s lucky for all of you, as well. If not for this internship, I would probably have to resort to guest-blogging about how much Yaffa loves me. (You may laugh, but there’s precedent for this. In her blogging infancy, I hijacked her livejournal and wrote an ode to myself.)
Yaffa’s adoration for me aside, I do have a point to this entry, a point provided to me by Writers House. When I’m not busy reading and evaluating manuscripts or going on late-afternoon M&M runs (yes, I mean the chocolate candy. This is not some super-secret publishing term…that I know of), I attend a series of tutorials designed to give me and my fellow interns an overview of the publishing industry. At one of these, I learned a disturbing fact: physical book purchases are dropping noticably every week. Not every quarter, every week. As in, every seven days, there is a discernable decrease in book sales from bookstores around the country. Though this isn’t all bad news – e-book sales and books bought over the internet are rising at a similar rate – I find this disturbing nonetheless. I know that iPads and Kindles and Nooks and whatever else are shiny and cool and convenient.
Forget about the technology’s sexiness, though. Ask yourself, are e-books really the same as an actual book? Think about a favorite book from your childhood. Would it be the same if you had spent hours staring at an electronic version? Maybe I’m a nerd, but there are few things I like better than walking into a bookstore or library and losing myself amongst the shelves until I find something that catches my interest. Somehow, staring at an open browser and clicking around doesn’t have the same appeal.
So, to steal one of Yaffa’s new life philosophies, I am here to implore you to shut up and read a book. Find a local bookstore, pick a book. Feel the weight and smell that new book smell. Lose yourself in an imagined world and, by doing so, do a little to insure that the kids I babysit for will grow up knowing what it means to read a book that isn’t electronic. Speaking of those kids, they just woke up from nap. Maybe I’ll go read them a book.