Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Life of a Newspaper Book Editor

If you want an inkling of what life is like for a newspaper book editor, go read Jeff Salamon’s article in the January 6, 2008 Austin American-Statesman.

First of all, he points out that his job is not all reading books.
Rather than lounging in an easy chair with a glass of Shiraz at my side and a dog curled by my feet, I spend most of my days attending meetings, editing reviews, hassling publicists, unpacking (and perusing and shelving or tossing out) the 200 or so books that arrive in the mail every week, marking up publishers' catalogs, reporting on local literary news, dealing with reader queries, filling out paysheets ... the list goes on.

Then, while he describes himself as a bibliomaniac, he admits to being a fairly slow reader who seems to remember only the most striking of books he reads. But, unlike you and I, he does so much reading that he doesn’t allow himself to read in bed as he’s going to sleep.
Reading until I fall asleep has only succeeded in training me to fall asleep when I read.

But, just like all of us avid readers, he buys books, even though he clearly has more than he can read already on his to-be-read pile. If he’s getting 200 books a week, I dare say he’s got a huge pile waiting. Let’s hope he’s not just tossing in the trash those books that he decides not to read.

Now, that could be a horror book by itself.

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