Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Alternative Christmases

In the past twelve months I have taken on various weekly and monthly deadlines while also anchoring down some portion of my time as a book reviewer.  This latter task is something akin to Christmas, as packages periodically arrive fresh from the publisher's workshop.  I get to open these packages, play with them, and then write about them.  It's the best of both worlds:  I get to be the child and play Santa's helper at the same time. 

Sometimes these book packages arrive on cue:  when I am eager to get at the new toys (some still in stage of development).  And at other times the packages are dumped on my front porch when I am snowed under, or I am creating other toys of my own, and I don't have as much inclination to open a package marked "For Reviewer Only".

There is, however, something secretive--much like the location of the North Pole workshop--about being a book reviewer.  As such, I get to see the products before others get to play with them.  Sometimes my comments might even influence the final product, as a publisher might go back to the elves and say, "Okay, people, let's get back to work here!"

Reviewing books also helps me write my own.  I get to see what the other toys look like and compare my own little workshop to the big fella's.  Sometimes I go back to work on my toys and add more nails, or pull out the screws, or I add a shiny coat of veneer to the finished product so eyes will be drawn to it.  Sometimes my toys get reviewed by other nincompoops like me.

This week I expect another shipment.  I'll be looking for a large package wrapped in brown paper, rather heavy, that will contain some wonderful mixture of pages for my eyes only.  I might even be the first person, other than the writer and editor, to handle the finished product.  That's kind of exciting.  Like Christmas.  And I might ask my wife to fix me a glass of hot chocolate to set the mood.

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