So, here’s A.L. Brooks:
Paperbacks are sexy!
For me, there is nothing better than sitting back in an armchair, preferably with a good glass of red wine by my side, and turning the first page of a real book. The crispness of the paper. The pristine print of the characters on the page. That smell that only a freshly minted book can carry. Paper, not pixels. Pounds and ounces, not megabytes.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not against e-books! They are a magical invention, which has made a big difference to my own life in two ways – firstly, enabling me to store many more books than my small flat would allow if they were in printed form, and secondly, giving me significantly less weight to carry on my commute on London’s infamously crowded Tube system.
This joy of the printed book has been with me from a very young age. My earliest memory is of sitting in the library of my primary school when I was just five years old. Perched on one of those very small chairs, only a few inches off the ground, my eyes sweeping slowly from left to right along the shelves in front of me, I was in awe. I was allowed to read any of these books, any time I wanted to. Heaven.
By the time I left school at sixteen, with very little in the way of qualifications, I was reading only adult literature, having long outgrown the books aimed more at my own age group. Whilst I wondered just what I was going to do with my life, the universe handed me my dream job. Just two months after leaving school, I was hired by a local independent bookshop as a sales assistant. This time I knew I had definitely died and gone to heaven. I spent all day, every day except Sunday, surrounded by books, in every shape, size, and genre I could imagine. Unpacking a box of new books from the wholesaler was a revelatory journey. It would take us ages, as every book just had to be examined, the blurb read out to the team, a discussion to be had as to who wanted to read it and why. And if we were very careful not to mark the pages or bend the spine, we were allowed to take any book home to read before putting it on the shelf for sale.
When the shop closed, suddenly, two years later, I was devastated. It is the only job I have cried over as I left it. I felt as if a huge part of me was being left behind somehow.
Some years later, as I was going through my coming-out process, I stumbled upon the Silver Moon bookshop, in Charing Cross Road. That shop opened my eyes to a world of lesbian writing, both fiction and non-fiction. I discovered I wasn’t the only woman who had ever felt all that I was feeling, or been confused and yet excited about what was happening to her. Silver Moon is long gone, but lesbian publishing is stronger—and publications by and about lesbians more available—than ever, through the wonder that is the world wide web.
But I still make a point of going to a bookshop now and again, just to stand there and see it and sniff its atmosphere and smile at the memory of how it felt to be able to do that, every day, and have someone pay me for the privilege. Heaven.
When I sat down to write my story, “Between the Lines,” for the Finding Ms. Write anthology, I already had one key scene in mind. This scene would play on all these memories of a life so closely linked to the world of books and connect the two main characters with something they both found incredibly important about books and writing, namely their mutual love for an actual printed book. I hope you enjoy reading that scene, and the whole of “Between the Lines,” as much as I enjoyed writing it.
You can follow A.L. Brooks on Facebook or e-mail her at email@example.com.
But wait, you can also enter our giveaway to win a free e-book! The rules are simple: We will give away five e-book copies. To enter, leave a comment on this blog or any blog on the tour. We will draw the winner on the last day of the tour.
From a novelist with the world’s biggest crush on her editor to a beta reader connecting with her cabinmate on a cruise, from a woman seeking rare books who finds love instead to a bookstore owner who’s drawn to the shy writer sitting by the shop’s window every day, this anthology is full of stories guaranteed to have a happy ending.
Step into our world of books and enjoy a glimpse into the lives of writers who are chasing deadlines…and finding love.
Includes stories by A.L. Brooks, Anastasia Vitsky, Chris Zett, Cori Kane, Elaine Burnes, Hazel Yeats, Jacelle Scott, Jae, Jove Belle, Kathy Brodland, Lea Daley, and Melissa Grace.
Don’t forget to check out Elaine Burnes’s stop on the tour tomorrow!
THE BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE
June 15 – Jove Belle
June 16 – Anastasia Vitsky
June 17 – A.L. Brooks (here!)
June 18 – Elaine Burnes
June 19 – Lea Daley (blogging at Jove’s site)
June 20 – Melissa Grace
June 21 – Hazel Yeats (blogging right here)
June 22 – Kathy Brodland (blogging at Jove’s site)
June 23 – Cori Kane
June 24 – Chris Zett
June 25 – Jae