I know my vegetables because I grew up on a farm that raised them. I planted them, nurtured them, picked them and ate them. A good vegetable has a distinct complexion, aroma, color and appearance that speaks quite eloquently. When I see one I know it, but it is rarely in a grocery store. The grocery store vegetables are bred and judged on qualities that are not natural to a vegetable. A hard, juiceless tomato is a good grocery store tomato because it withstands abuse, and because it is picked and shipped green and then forced ripened it lacks a good tomato’s flavor and vitality. It is an anemic mutant of what a real tomato should be. I won’t eat it.
What about books? I certainly grew up reading them, but unlike vegetables they do not always read the way they look. The first books that truly captured my imagination were ugly, green and clothe bound. The covers were void of any graphics, displaying only a title and the author’s name. I loved them.
The library recently had a book sale at our local hospital and while waiting to get in for a blood test, I browsed. The words in these books were mostly wrapped in a package of graphics meant to grab my attention, and I must say the artwork on many was quite stunning and good. If books were vegetables, I could have simply walked along tossing these beauties into my bag assured of a good read.
Unfortunately, books aren’t vegetables. So how do you pick one when you are going in blind?
I always randomly open the book and read a few paragraphs. You don’t need to know anything about the plot or contents to grasp whether or not the writing clicks with you. I can read a book about turf grass management if the writing is good. I just can’t eat a vegetable that looks superficially perfect but in reality is tasteless.
Richard Rensberry, Author at QuickTurtle Books®