Thursday, November 20, 2014

Book Covers

When I was in sixth grade, our teacher, Mrs. Harris, showed us two books, or rather two different copies of the same book.  One copy was old, with no dust jacket.  The other was new, with a beautiful dust jacket
Mrs. Harris said, "I'm sure you would all be more attracted to this copy," indicating the new book.
I raised my hand and said, "It depends."
 "Leave it to Rochelle to contradict," said Mrs. Harris.
"Well," I said, "if I were in a bookstore, I'd be attracted to the book with the dust jacket, but if I were in a library, I'd be more attracted to the book with the worn cover, because that would mean that a lot of people have read it, so it's probably a good book."
Years later, I read this passage in "An Old-Fashioned Girl"
and remembered that little incident.
Polly heard it, and instantly resolved to be as "raving and as tearing" as her means would allow, "just for one night," she said, as she peeped over the banisters, glad to see that the dance and the race had taken the "band-boxy" air out of Tom's elegant array.
I deeply regret being obliged to shock the eyes and ears of such of my readers as have a prejudice in favor of pure English, by expressions like the above; but, having rashly undertaken to write a little story about Young America, for Young America, I feel bound to depict my honored patrons as faithfully as my limited powers permit; otherwise, I must expect the crushing criticism, "Well, I dare say it's all very prim and proper, but it isn't a bit like us," and never hope to arrive at the distinction of finding the covers of "An Old-Fashioned Girl" the dirtiest in the library.

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