Tuesday, August 21, 2007

On cheap paperbacks

My copy of The Blind Assassin is a mass-market paperback. And though I don't remember reading it the first time, surprisingly I do remember buying it-- that little burst of joy upon realizing here was a whole book for 11.99 and, moreover, I could afford that. The book is wonderful this time around, by the way, but I am also taking particular joy in its mass-market paperbackness. It's the first such book I've read in a long time, and I'd forgotten how satisfying its little bulk can be. Bulk, yes, but fits so conveniently into my bag. I like the way the spine cracks whether I want it to or not, and so the book can't help but come to be lived in. The Blind Assassin in particular lends itself to this form, I think, in that the novel within the novel is inevitably paperback. The cover design is perfect too, with the gold embossed letters suggesting the sordidness and drama of the story, all the while spelling out "Margaret Atwood". Which, actually, is exactly right.