Talk about knowing your audience. To be published July 1, 2004: The Paris Review Book for Planes, Trains, Elevators and Waiting Rooms. Sounds perfect to me. The book includes short stories by such famous authors as V.S. Naipal, Alice Munroe, Philip Roth, and Joyce Carol Oates, that are arranged according to length. Not a moment is to be spared from reading – whether you are in line at the checkout or waiting to be called into the doctor’s office. Now you may spend time with the most wonderful prose stylists in the world, time that would otherwise be wasted.
“Reading may be the last secretive behavior in the world that is neither pathological or prosecutable,” writes Richard Powers in the book’s introduction (one of my favorite writers by the way). “It is certainly the last refuge from the real-time epidemic. For the stream of a narrative overflows the banks of the real. Story strips its reader, holding her in a place time can’t reach. A book’s power lies in its ability to erase us, to expand or contract without limit, to circle inside itself without beginning or end, to defy our imaginary timetables and lay us bare to a more basic ticking. The pages we read are nowhen, unfolding far outside the public arena. As long as we remain in them, now reveals itself to be the baldest of inventions.” I haven’t heard a better description.