Early on in my working career, our company library would circulate magazines and professional journals of company interest to any employee who requested them. One of these was Publisher’s Weekly, hardly critical to our company’s interest, but the library staff liked it and no bean-counter would dare intrude on their territory over the price of a subscription.
I read it because the main part of each issue was a brief review of the books published that week. I would Xerox pages with interesting reviews and file them away, thinking in a few months our public library would have some of them. The trouble was, I saved about six of the reviews each week, which adds up to three hundred per year, and I am a slow reader. Even today, I have stuffed folders in my attic of those now silverfish-eaten copies that I cannot bear to throw away because the books still look interesting.
After all these years of retirement, I thought my addiction was over, but now I find the reviews are available online (www.PublishersWeekly.com), and they call to me like bonbons to a fat lady. For example, this week there is a book describing how cooking food changed the entire development of mankind. (I am partial to nonfiction.) By making food more digestible, our jaws, teeth, and guts could shrink, freeing up calories for our expanding brains. Cooking not only liberated us from the drudgery of chewing, it also led to pair bonding and table manners, according to the author. How can I pass up a book like that?
So now files on books I’ll never read sit on my hard drive as well as in my attic, but with the modern convenience that silverfish do not eat hard drives, at least not until they learn to cook.
Hey, what’s that I smell?