I'm not one of those authors who'll tell you my books are my babies. They're not. My babies, when they were babies, actually needed to be cared for and protected. My books, once they're in the hands of readers, shouldn't need coddling. Which is not to say I'm a fan of cruel reviews--I'm not. But authors should be able to put on their big-girl panties and not take offense at every little hint of criticism and reviewers need to be able to put on their "I'm-an-adult" hats and not show off how frightfully smart they are at the expense of someone else's feelings. We should all be able to unite over our mutual love of books and just get along...but that's a topic for another post.
What I want to talk about today, is not how books are like babies, but how babies are like books. Hear me out a minute. 'Cause I've given this a lot of thought and it actually makes sense.
First off, there's that new book smell...and yes, for the purposes of this blog post we're talking about physical books. If you've got virtual babies, that's all well and good, but you're on your own with that.
Next, like babies, books are all about the same size and shape. Some are thinner than others, some a bit more thick. But, by and large, none of them weigh so much that you can't sit comfortably and hold one for hours at a time. Which is a damn good thing, when you think about it!
When you first bring your new book or your new baby home, you don't really know what to expect from it. Oh, sure, you have a basic idea, but specifically? Not so much. Will this one be so exciting it will keep you up nights; or will it let you get some sleep? Will it have an internal rhythm you can count on and an attention span that's measurable in more than micro-seconds, or will it restless and high-strung and jump around from one mood to the next? Outward appearances might give you a clue about its temperament, and knowing the genealogy (author and publisher) can also help but, ultimately, you won't know for sure until you're in the middle of it.
Some books are sweet, some more adventurous and some leave you wanting to throw them against the wall. Okay...not like babies so much, more like teenagers maybe. And, no, I'm not advocating you treat either like that in reality; I'm just saying you might want to. There will be chapters you'll wish you could re-visit for eternity and chapters you hurry through and never want to see again. There maybe be tears or laughter, or a good deal of both. This new book and/or baby might break your heart, or it (or he/she/they) might be the greatest love story ever told.
And, in case you can't tell, my baby's off on another trip right now. My nest is empty and I'm feeling nostalgic. Guess I'd better go and find a good book to read.