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Behind the Curtain at TMM

A Book Here, A Book There, A Book Everywhere ...


Now, I'd like to have a word about books, and I am going to ask our planning editor Luis Clemens to join me for this.

(Hi, Luis!)

I took a few days off last week (to be honest, I was furloughed but that's another story ... ) and when I got back, I had no fewer than six unsolicited books on my chair. I spent the last hour of the work day culling through four stacks of books that were literally waist-high against the wall (don't tell the fire marshals). A few of them were duplicates, a bunch were obvious rejects that don't fit the mission of the program (like some quasi-porn chick lit and some crazy self-help books that don't address any problems of anybody I know), and a lot of them were ... were what? Books that were interesting, important, about something important but, for whatever reason, we just are not going to get to.

And I put the ones that we obviously won't use onto a cart that goes around the building to other programs and reporters for this purpose. We hope somebody will find exactly what he or she is looking for. But I was still left with a couple of knee high and thigh high stacks. What to do, what to do?

It pains me and it thrills me at the same time. On the one hand — because I have many friends who have written books — I know how much time, effort and how many sleepless nights go into each one. And I appreciate the intentions of the people who send us their books. They want attention for them but, more importantly, I think, they are just proud of themselves and want the world to see what they have done. So every time I put one of those books on the reject cart I know I'm putting months or years of someone else's life on the shelf and saying, no thanks.

On the other hand, to be brutally honest, sometimes I am thinking, what the hell was this person or his or her publicist thinking when they sent me this? Some of these books are just lousy, poorly written, and/or have nothing to do with the interests (as we understand them) of the people who listen to this program.

I think you are getting the idea that we can only review or talk about a tiny fraction of the books that come to us. For more on how we do decide, here's Luis ...