Old Books Never Die

(Originally appeared in The Beach reporter on 7/11/91)

About twice a year I have to tackle the task of going through my stacks of books and recycle some of them to the library. It seems to happen overnight that there are books in every nook and cranny of the house.

From where I sit and read the newspaper every morning, I see the bookcase in the family room, its shelves groaning. There are also two stacks of books on the family room floor – one stack of library books and another stack of children’s books we own.

The coffee table is strewn with more children’s books. My children like to have books at hand so they can curl up on the family room couch at any given moment and read. So I leave the books where they are, even though it always looks messy.

Our two current favorites are Charlotte’s Web and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. These two books are so well-written that I look forward to reading them as much as my children do. Every time I finish a chapter, and say that is “absolutely it for the night” they beg me, “Please, please, puhleeezze, just one more chapter.” I almost always give in. Continue reading

Books Go Better With…

( I published this on a blog I had a while back…)

A recent book review in the Philadelphia Inquirer pointed out the rather insidious use of product placement in the young adult novel Cathy’s Book. In this case Cover Girl cosmetics (owned by Procter & Gamble) get mentioned as part of the story, causing the nonprofit group Commercial Alert to point out the use of shady product placement. A stroll through the children’s department of your local bookstore might also have you wondering. Here you might see The Cheerios Play Book, The M & M’s Brand Counting Book and The Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Fun Book. 

The latest entry into this slightly disturbing trend of product crossover is another children’s book Cashmere If You Can, a children’s picture book about some cute little goats who just happen to live on the roof of the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store. This concept of product branding crossed with literature is not limited to children’s books – in 2001 Fay Weldon’s novel The Bulgari Connection caused the literary world to collectively pucker its lips in disapproval.

This trend of tying commercial products with literary works seems likely to continue, so to that end I am happy to suggest here a possible list of book/product tie-ins that might work well. (Note: if any companies wish to use these, please notify my desired corporate sponsor, Godiva Chocolate.) Continue reading

Old Books Never Die

(Originally published in The Beach Reporter on 7/11/91)

About twice a year I have to tackle the task of going through my stacks of books and recycle some of them to the library. It seems to happen overnight that there are books in every nook and cranny of the house.

From where I sit and read the newspaper every morning, I see the bookcase in the family room, its shelves groaning. There are also two stacks of books on the family room floor – one stack of library books and another stack of children’s books we own.

The coffee table is strewn with more children’s books. My children like to have books at hand so they can curl up on the family room couch at any given moment and read. So I leave the books where they are, even though it always looks messy. Continue reading

Will Real Books be Replaced by Digital Devices?

(Originally published in Main Line Life on 9/25/08)

They say the book is dead, but as I walk along the beach I see people reading everywhere.

Middle-aged women under striped umbrellas reading books with pink covers; teenagers lolling on towels holding thick, brutal mysteries; big, hairy guys with cigars clenched in their teeth engrossed in the latest spy thriller.

On the train it’s the same thing. There are a lot of people reading. Here the readers are older, or at least not in their twenties. Those in their twenties are either talking on their cell phones or listening to their I-pods. Although maybe they are listening to a downloaded book on their I-pods. One can always hope.

Continue reading