Hello, all! My name is Katherine and I’m the Marketing intern at Mackids for the summer. A bit about me: I’m entering my senior year at college. I like writing and singing and comedy, and I major in the wonderfully dense discipline of Comparative Literature. Sometimes when I talk about what I study, I see people’s eyes glaze over and I know all they’re hearing is, “Blah, blah, blah.” Other times, I meet someone who is excited to discuss literary theory with me in an intelligent manner. Unfortunately, when that happens, my eyes tend to glaze over and all I hear is “Blah, blah, blah.” Theory is funny like that.
So enough about that…. Let’s talk about books!
I was delighted the other day to read the super-talented Lane Smith’s It’s A Book, which shows a conversation between a bibliophile monkey and a techie jackass. The monkey explains again and again that what he’s reading is a book while the jackass bombards him with questions: does it have Wi-Fi? Can it text? Tweet?
Sadly, I found myself identifying with the jackass. As a Comp Lit student, you’d think I’d spend more time with books than I do — but I often use websites and printouts, photocopies and sometimes even audiobooks (set to 3x speed so I feel like I’m being serenaded by chipmunks).
When you do use a book in college, you get the least expensive version you can find. (If you’re lucky, you pick up a used copy from a slacker. Those are always in perfect condition.) Then you spend the money you saved on pizza and deodorant. The truth is, schoolbooks are often a means to an end. You get the information in whatever form is cheapest and easiest, because you cover it up in your own highlights and annotations anyway. (My annotations are usually along the lines of “?????”)
So one of the things I’ve loved most about this internship is getting back to real, honest-to-goodness books. And if there’s one type of book that is lovely and cannot be photocopied or texted or tweeted or annotated, it’s a children’s book. Here’s a secret I learned this summer that they don’t teach you in school: books without pictures are overrated. Here, I’m surrounded by children’s books with gorgeous artwork. There are some for an older crowd over at the graphic novel imprint, First Second, too. They’re the kind of books that make you want to read and keep and display them, and then find a kid so you can show them what’s up. If you ever forget why you love books, see if you can get your hands on a really beautiful one. (Don’t get me wrong, though—books without pictures are also great. And we have those, too!)
So that’s something of me and what I’m interested in! (You know, the objectified book as it fits into modern materialist theory and the complications which Derrida brings up regarding blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…) See you next week!