Burn the British! literarily speaking….

I get frequent packets of forwarded mail from Bob, usually in assortments that are united in the mailing by size rather than substantive relationship.  However, the selection arriving in yesterday’s mailer proved to have certain and odd details that presented a theme:

There was the galley of an upcoming book.  The bottom right corner of it had taken a long soak in a puddle somewhere and then dried, so water stains crept an eighth of the way up the first 30 pages or so.

Then there was the newly published book which, when I happened to flip to the back flap, I noticed had been burned along the inner spine–not thoroughly aflame, of course, just deeply scorched.

Since this pair in no other way seemed to indicate a visitation from the elemnts, I didn’t look for air and earth in the same shipment, but indeed, found them anyway, as a brochure included detailed a list of nature books…specifically, gardens and birds.

The scorched tome reminds me of an outing with my son when he was about 15 months old.  We had gone to a department store at El Cerrito Plaza to find a new toaster.  I am not a good shopper and there we were in the middle of a large housewares department, with him bouncing in a stroller and me trying to both find toasters and not bump into fine china.  We got help rather quickly, however, when he bellowed out a line from a favorite Frank and Ernest book of that period in his life.  In the story, a couple of characters sling diner speak.  My kid knew we were looking for a toaster.  He helped: “Burn the British!” he hollered, just as his literary models would when a toasted English muffin was in order.

Which brings me back to the mail from yesterday.  I have to assume that the water and the fire hit before the package was created by Bob because the exterior of the package showed neither encroachment.  Further, it seems unlikely that Bob would cast a book either into the bath or toward a flame, so he must have received each of them in its present condition.  How would Frank and Ernest describe the travails of books from publisher to reader?



2 Responses to “Burn the British! literarily speaking….”

  1. Bob Says:

    Your hunch is correct. I had no idea that the book-to-be had been baptized, nor that the newbie book had been burned (at the stake, say, or as steak on the barbie).

    The Frank and Ernest books, by the way, remain among my favorites.

  2. halifaxing Says:

    But soon enough they will be among your favourites….

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