Next week my new book, In the Garden of Beasts, will reach bookstores at last–and, to those who pre-ordered e-copies of the book, it will be flashed digitally (and, frankly, rather miraculously) to Kindles and Nooks and iPads all over the place. I like to imagine a guy on the Long Island Railroad on his way to work suddenly realizing the book has arrived in his Kindle. I savor the reaction: “What, I didn’t order this? I ordered Tina Fey’s book. What the–”

Okay. Okay. But it is really quite a Harry-Potter-esque thing–this idea that a book will come flying invisibly through space and plop into your e-reader. It’s just too bad that e-books don’t arrive with a distinctive sound, like an artillery shell or something, or with a war whoop, or, depending on the nature of the book, a chicken cluck. I don’t even want to think about what sound might accompany my new book.

Meanwhile, I’m having problems with my old books. The same thing happens every time a new book arrives. The old books get pouty and sad, and need endless reassurance that I’ll always love them. It’s always the most recent book that takes it the hardest. Thunderstruck is moping around and muttering “oh fine, you know what you can call me pal, just call me dumbstruck; and hey, this new book, I mean come on, what kind of title is that: In the Garden of Beasts–you know what’s gonna happen, don’t ya pal? It’s too freakin’ long. They’re gonna call it ITGOB. Ha ha. ITGOB. ITGOB. ITGOB.” At which point the book invariably begins to sob in the most heart-rending fashion.

I know from past experience to be patient. There is always this hurtful phase, and I recognize that it’s just the outer manifestation of inner hurt.


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