Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Orson Welles at His Tiniest

Meridith called me yesterday after work, finding a box in the school library marked "Free Books." Did I want any?

Well, what's in it?

Mostly teen books. A few vampires, things you're not likely to ever read. But there is Me and Orson Welles.

Bring that one home.

The conversation went on for a lot longer than that, since she read me every title that was there, but I'll spare you all that.

She brought it home and it's a Penguin edition, a movie cover, with Claire Danes, Zac Efron, and Christian McKay on the front, all within the enormous back shadow of Orson Welles. Its size reminds me of the promise of books, not that I needed to be reminded. It's 7 x 5 x 0.5 inches, small enough for any interested middle school student to easily carry in a pocket in their backpack and still have room in that pocket for spare change (If there ever is such a thing anymore), Nintendo DS games, and that math test with a bad grade that they so desperately need to hide. It'll easily fit behind this book if it's folded over many times.

I compared the size of it to Mousetrapped: A Year and a Bit in Orlando, Florida by Catherine Ryan Howard which I have on one of many stacks to the left of my bed, and when marveling at how small this book is, it was the first title I spotted for comparison. Just briefly, Mousetrapped is Howard's story about working at a hotel on Walt Disney World property. Give me any book that takes place in Florida and especially at Walt Disney World. I'll read it.

Placing Me and Orson Welles on top of Mousetrapped, the tagline of Mousetrapped is still visible, along with the blowing leaves of one palm tree, Howard's learner license, a "United States Space Program" badge, the bottom of the American flag, and the bottom tip of Florida on a map. Amazon has the dimensions of this book as 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches. 12.8 ounces, compared to Welles's 5.6 ounces.

I love small books. I don't mind paperbacks that are near to bursting, such as Oliver Twist, because there's so much promise that you can store so easily and not be worried that you'll pull something trying to carry it. A majority of the books in my collection are paperback. Hardcover is only when it's absolutely necessary such as Finishing the Hat, volume 1 of Stephen Sondheim's life and lyrics, Lyrics by Sting, and a few books of Charles Bukowski's poetry.

Also, smaller paperbacks invite you in more readily. I had heard of Me and Orson Welles because of the movie, knew minorly that it was a book, and upon seeing the book in this form, I want to go in. I want to see what kind of Orson Welles is in store here. I want to know what gave Zac Efron his first shot at getting out from under High School Musical. I especially like how Claire Danes is on the cover with a sunny smile, and soon Showtime will start airing a dark drama called Homeland, in which she stars as a CIA analyst convinced that an American soldier who had gone missing for so many years and has now been brought home is actually a pawn of terrorists. Now that's acting.

At Wal-Mart, at Target, it's why I always look at all the paperbacks being offered. Maybe there's a story there that reaches out to me, and what an attractive package to contain it!