In my pocket. That’s where I like to keep my books.
I mean, I like to keep all my things in my pockets–my phone, my keys, my wallet, you know, the usual stuff, but also my GameBoy and my DS and, yes, even my books.
But growing up and reading bigger books (and somehow wearing pants with fewer pockets… RIP the days of cargo shorts being in style), it was just no longer practical.
At least until I joined the Mouse Book Club.
I consider myself an aficionado of two things: loose-leaf teas and books.
My tea collection withstanding, at one time I literally owned over a thousand books (the fact that I had yet to read over half of them is besides the point), but between getting older and moving out of my parent’s house, I’ve pared that down quite a bit. And yet I still have two full bookshelves in one room, two shelves of books under my TV, two shelves nestled into a side table, and a number of stacks scattered about because I ran out of shelf-space. And I assure you, this is only my physical book collection.
I feel much less guilty about having hundreds of digital books I’ve never even opened.
Those, at least, I can’t see daily to remind me how much reading I’ve still got to do.
Tangents aside, I was talking about pockets, and I mentioned the Mouse Book Club. I briefly alluded to Mouse Books in my post “Read Me,” and while I’d be remiss not to mention I’ve not actually finished reading any of those books in the last two weeks (although I’ve read entirely a different one, All Souls by Michael Patrick MacDonald, thank-you-grad-school-very-much), I’ve had in mind since then an all-out review.
Why a review? Because I think they’re something awesome and I want to share that with you. After all, for the first time in forever, here’s a line of books meant to be in pockets.
You see, Mouse Books are pocket-sized snippets of a classical literary tradition, the still-alive archaic tomes of yesteryear made as easy to carry as my cell phone, my keys.
But after my last review sprawled over 3000 words, and staying in the theme of Mouse Books being able to fit in your pocket, I feel a need to keep these comments brief. I’ve already shared my love of books in general, so let me get straight to the Mouse Books.
1. Mouse Books are small. They’re easily carried around, fitting comfortably in my pocket without forcing me to leave behind anything I’d normally have on me.
2. They’re classic literature at my fingertips. Since becoming an adult, I’ve fostered a new fondness for classics, and with Mouse Books, I don’t have to spend any time figuring out what to read next–instead I just eagerly await the next envelope.
3. They’re affordable. While a single subscription might feel a bit pricey at first, when you think about how many Mouse Books you’ll get from it, it’s a great deal.
4. It comes in the mail every month! Back in my youth, nobody cared for snail mail and even a single email was a cause for excitement. How the tables have turned. So knowing I’ve got something special on the way gives me something to wait for like kids wait for Christmas, and when it finally does come, it’s a nice after-work pick-me-up.
5. Lists, I’ve learned, are better in odd numbers, unless you’re talking about Mouse Books–because becoming one of the first 1000 backers on Kickstarter will earn you two complementary copies of Michel de Montaigne’s Of Friendship. I already know who I’m giving my second copy to. Do you?
1. They’re small. It’s funny how a good thing can also be a bad thing, you know? This one is a double-edged sword: While comfortably to carry, the text is a little hard to read. I wasn’t personally bothered by the font size in the promotional copy of James Joyce’s The Dead I received for being among the first 500 backers, but I’ve read in the comments that others have been (and that they’re trying to fix this).
2. Can I amend that to be a triple-edged sword? Also because Mouse Books are small, some of the works will inevitably be abridged. This by itself is not a bad thing, but I’m a perfectionist, and I can’t help but imagine I’ll feel a bit unfinished after reading the last page of an abridged work. Then again, for massive and intimidating tomes, and abridged introduction could be all I need to finally grab the full thing!
3. Alright, fine, let’s just make it two double-edged swords: Mouse Books are so compact, none of my bookmarks really work well with them, and I’m very particular about ensuring the right bookmark for every book I read. (A Tour of the Calculus had a bookmark featuring Albert Einstein, and of course I read the Lord of the Rings with a bookmark of that every-so-handsome Aragorn; I used the pre-order ticket sleeve for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and for Masterminds & Wingmen, I’m using a needlepoint bookmark my mom made me that says “teacher”). Getting back to the point, it’d be nice if the Mouse Book Club would create some sort of compact, perhaps clip-like bookmark to hold my place without coming loose in my pocket, but until then, a clear Post-It flag will have to do.
4. And last, but not least, they fit in my pocket. Yet again, a double-edged sword, because while I love the intimate feeling I have with a book held so close to me, the fact about working in a school without air conditioning is that things in my pocket of a papery variety have a tendency to get a little soggy. But (and this is a pleasant little but) even though I carried around the Dead for a good few days, right against my perspiring thigh, the book held up remarkably well: the inner pages were untouched, and the cover was more warped than anything else. In fact, aside from a few creases around the binding and some faded ink, being in my pocket barely affected it at all–but for those times when it’s hotter, or when I get caught in a summer rain, or at the beach or the pool around vigorously splashing children, well, I’m not sure just how well the book would withstand moisture then. (In particular, the summer rain is my biggest concern: Just last week I hadn’t read the weather too well and got stuck in a downpour at an uncovered bus stop; it wasn’t especially pleasant, mind you.) There is, of course, another simple solution the publishers could produce: Either print the covers in some sort of nylon material (which could be cost-prohibitive and detract from the lovely feeling of fresh paper they already provide), or more easily, simply create a nylon book jacket that Mouse Books can be slipped in and removed from to keep them protected on the go. And for the premium readers among us, who dislike the little creases, too, they could create a metal, bend-proof jacket. Oh, and then they could make themed jackets, like iPhone cases, and well, perhaps that should be saved for their next Kickstarter.
Anyways, perhaps I’ve piqued your interest? If I have, be sure to visit Mouse Books’ Kickstarter Campaign today. There are only five days left, and only about 75 more backers will receive the sharing copy of Montaigne’s Of Friendship.
Meanwhile, I’m gonna go read some for grad school, eat some dinner, and maybe someday soon, I’ll get back to the Dead…