Friday, November 13, 2009

A Publishing Nightmare

I don't often have dreams that are about books or the publishing industry, but last night I did.

I dreamed I was trying to get a job in publishing. To do this, I had to read a rather cheaply bound ARC and give my thoughts on it. It was some sort of retelling of Frankenstein by a young, up-and-coming male author.

The problem was, the book was excruciatingly boring. As far as I could tell, it had no plot, and it was basically a bunch of character introductions and pretentiously written (almost to the point of being unintelligible) phrases. Someone near me asked what I was reading; when I told him, he nodded knowingly. Apparently, this author's work was somewhat notorious (I got the feeling that it was only ever used to screen out job applicants).

To make matters worse, I kept losing my place. Every time I'd glance up for a moment and then return to the book, nothing looked familiar. So I kept having to go back a couple of pages... but even that wasn't helping.

The best part of the dream was when I decided that I didn't want to work in the publishing industry that badly, so I chucked the book into a nearby trash can. I justified this by telling myself that such a horrendous book would never make it to the editing stage anyway; it would be cast aside after interns at the publishing house read the first sample chapters and bored themselves silly.

With that weight off my shoulders, I grabbed a plate from a nearby buffet table and started to fill it with my dinner.

(Usually my dreams are quite difficult to interpret, but this one is obviously a reflection of my frustration at seeing published books that really shouldn't have been published for whatever reason. I seem to have read -- and paid good money for -- a number of those in recent years, so it's understandable that my frustration level is getting up there.)

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