Conventions

Paperback Tolstoy

I bought myself a “little” present the other day:

Always a good feeling opening an envelope you know contains a desired new book. πŸ™‚ I wanted a paperback copy. I have only a Kindle version.

I recall being assigned it in graduate school (too long ago now) in a course on Russian government/history. (There’s a real shocker, eh?) So I had thought I had an old paperback of it in America; but I couldn’t find it over in the Catskills when we were there in December. (My sister may have swiped it many years ago.)

This English translation is one Leo Tolstoy himself approved. The translators were personal friends:

[“War and Peace.” Photo by me, 2019.]

It is so bulky it is leading to storage difficulties here in the home office – perhaps even a “health and safety” danger in case it creates an “avalanche”:

[Photo by me, 2019.]

The flat Kindle simply does not do justice to the “3 dimensions” of books. F. Scott Fitzgerald, for instance, was not trying to compete with War and Peace. Yet it is tough not to notice: The Great Gatsby (which I just finished) is but a fraction of the size of War and Peace.

It seems almost criminal also THAT paperback version of War and Peace was only Β£2.25. That’s about $3. I sit here looking at it and thinking: “The nerve any of us as authors have that our books are even ’99 cents’ sitting beside THAT!”

As I began re-reading it on Wednesday night, I reflected as well on how if you are an author it can even make you question whether you should choose another life direction. Yes, it has its errors and oversights – for example, the editor of this edition’s notes points out β€œNatasha” is said to be age 13 at the beginning in 1805 and is age 16 in 1809 – but they are surprisingly few and minor given both its sheer scope and its simultaneous level of detail. It can cause you to wonder: “Look at this. What right do I have to write romantic historical fiction?”

That led me to have a flip through paperback pages of my latest – which I had kind of lightheartedly termed my own “magnum opus” – and at one point ending up here:

[Excerpt from Conventions: The Garden At Paris, on Kindle for iPhone/iPad. Click to expand.]

Of course I have a right to write. We all do; and we may in our ways make some positive contribution to all else that is out there. Such will be uniquely our own.

Still it is also worth reminding yourself what came before you. It is also necessary to recall what you are up against as a current writer. When doing both, often you can do little but think… WOW!😳

And then it is back to working on the current manuscript once more.

[High Street, Codicote, England, Thursday morning, January 17, 2019. Photo by me.]

Have a good weekend, wherever you are. πŸ™‚

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