Yesterday I couldn’t write about what it felt like to hold the finished book in my hands. The experience was too fresh. Robert Frost said that he always wrote in after thought, after some mulling had taken place and some thoughts had accumulated. That’s how I feel too. But I must say that the spell of the new book was somewhat broken after I leaned the book against something else on the top of my car while I wrestled my son Felix out of the child seat. From where I was on the other side of the car I heard the thud as the book slid off the car and landed on the street.
It survived remarkably well (french fold jackets should be required by the government on all books.)
A Journey Through Literary America has a promising heft to it. But because of the rounded spine it fits well in the hand. It is a joy to see two years and nine months of work transformed into something so lovely to look at and so portable. I looked randomly at the book: back towards front, here and there. I read two of the entries that I had not read in a long time. I still liked what I wrote. The language is more ornate than I had remembered. In that regard, the initial capital letters of each entry, which are set in Doyald Young’s Young Baroque script, work really well.
I still think there is no other book like it.
Robert Frost also said: if you are not secretive you will have nothing to secrete. Sure, there’s lots of other things I think when I gaze at the book. But I hope you will soon enough have copies of your own and will be able to share your conclusions.
I also found three errors overlooked in the text. One was a doozy:
ERRATUM: In the conclusion of the entry on Thomas Wolfe I wrote that he passed away in 1939. That was granting him an extra year of life. I got the 1938 date right at the beginning of the entry.