Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's a pleasure

I was having lunch with a colleague from another publishing house recently, and as we talked I began faintly to detect traces of envy. She, herself, has a job a lot people in the industry would kill for, at great offices in central Manhattan, and at a firm that puts out some of the most respected fiction and nonfiction in the business. But as I described what I do all day—hunt for book treasure among the best of the best of current publishing for our discerning readers, and then read and condense these gems—she was clearly musing about what it was like on my side of the fence.

Then I really laid it on. “I’m also the project editor for the World’s Best Reading collector’s series, and I have to read the great classics like Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth or Robinson Crusoe and then write introductory essays for each one we select. Actually, I usually just listen to audio versions of each novel in the car driving to work.” That’s when she said: “You have a great job!”

I do. And one of the things I really like about it is not just a chance to work on the cream of the crop, but also the serendipity that goes with the job as I learn about the authors we publish. Just this morning, I stumbled on a web site for the Edith Wharton Society. And I was reminded that there are a lot of information-packed fan clubs out there devoted to favorite writers. Which brings me to another thing I like about my job—I get to share what I enjoy directly with you. For fun, try these links:

Edith Wharton
Edgar Allan Poe
Jane Austen
Daniel Defoe


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