Kathleen McCall:
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2004-10-23 - 8:09 a.m.

Ignorance and Weather

I would read more "good" literature if there was no such thing as "trade paperbacks."

You know, for all the books I chew through, and how central books are to my life, I don't even know why they call them "trade paperback". I don't. It's one of those knowledge gaps, the sort of thing everyone probably knows except me. I should Google it. That's how I usually deal with those gaps when I discover them. I always thought "trade paperback" meant a cheap novel I'd read once and planned to take to the used bookstore and get credit for another cheap novel. That's my idea of trade.

I don't like the larger format. It's not right. You see it, you think, "Now that is a serious book, by some serious writer. I shall have to read it seriously," and they've made sure of that, too. I like to read before I go to sleep, lying on my side in bed, and you need the right kind of paperback for that. Not trade paper. They're not sturdy enough, and they kind of collapse. One must sit up properly to read such a book. If one sits up properly, one cannot comfortably get the book the proper distance from one's aging eyes, and must therefore locate one's bifocals. Sitting upright and wearing eyeglasses makes the reading more studious and less frivolous. You are not wasting time on a murder mystery when you should be accomplishing something; you are Improving Your Mind.

That's not as much fun.

But the most beautiful and readable of books are the ones at that end of my bookshelves, looking more stately and important than all their short fat cousins. Everyone I know who has published a book has been published in that size, and many of the writers I love are published in that size, and I am ignorant because I don't even know why. I know people who could tell me, of course, but I wouldn't think to ask them because most of the time I look plenty ignorant without asking extra-ignorant questions.

Come to think of it, I have been published in that size. Sigh.

I don't know shit about wine, either. I'm such a bumpkin.


It's raining again. It's been doing that off and on, and when it isn't, it's not very warm. Sock Season has arrived, and that means it's time for the annual Migration of the Capri. I take this grown-up privilege; there is not enough room in my closet for my accumulation of clothing, so I keep my winter corduroy pants for work in the younger kid's closet. At some point in the fall I reach resignation, and trade them for my collection of capri pants. Six or eight pair of capris out, six or eight pair of corduroy back in. She doesn't complain because she doesn't wear anything that needs to be hung up, but when she does, I can probably pull the Mortgage Card (as in, "Who pays the mortgage around here? You want a WHOLE closet, get a JOB.") No, I'll probably have to throw out a linear foot or two of MY stuff so I can fit back in my own closet. I probably have cocktail dresses or something in there. More holiday clothes than there are holidays. Like that.

The sort of woman who harbors a secret problem with trade paperbacks is not the sort of woman who needs to own cocktail dresses, is she?


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