My mother calls again yesterday to tell me she's finished THE BONESETTER'S DAUGHTER and is ready to move on to her next-favorite Chinese author, me. "I'm a little ways into Chapter One, but Ron says he's ahead of me." Ron is my stepfather, and while I rarely see books in his hands, when I have, they've been WWII histories or Tom Clancy thrillers. MOURNING BECOMES CASSANDRA would be an example of him branching out.
"I don't think it's his type of book," I say.
"Well, he's reading it on his iPhone."
I begin thinking and speaking in exclamation points: "On his iPhone! It's a really long book--it'll take him forever to read on his iPhone!" As in, the rest of his natural life. We'll have to bury him with the darned thing, and he may only be up to Chapter 17. I saw Amazon offered the Kindle option to download to an iPhone, but I didn't think anyone actually did that. Who wants to read a book one haiku at a time?
"Don't worry," says my mother, misunderstanding me, "he can enlarge the print size." Okay...at four words per screen and a total book length of 140,000 words, Ron will have to scroll with his finger 35,000 times, and I am not paying for his repetitive stress injury.
She goes on to tell me about the Indian co-worker he's lent their other hard copy to, and his sister who's ordered it on Amazon while I squirm. Most first-time authors might be thrilled at these random readers, but as the only Christian in my family, the thought of all these valiant atheists and agnostics suffering through a Christian beach read for my sake makes me want to hide under the couch. I read somewhere that the Christian fiction business would love for non-Christians to read Christian fiction (but heck, they'd love for Christians to read Christian fiction), so my suggestion would be to sign more authors like me, with my built-in non-Christian platform.
Ron apparently wondered how my church was going to take some crack the protagonist makes about "Bible thumping" in Chapter One--after all the warnings I gave them about MBC's PG-13 rating I doubt they'll even blink--and this could be the upside: to expand people's views of Christians beyond the media stereotypes. (DIGRESSION ALERT: take the straw-man representation of a Christian in any of the hot new atheism books like Sam Harris's THE END OF FAITH or even E. O. Wilson's THE CREATION. The "Christian" they argue against basically struggles to clear the drooling-idiot IQ bar, clutches "God said, I believe it, that settles it" bumper stickers in one hand and the Republican voting guide in the other, and has to sound out all the words in the Bible he takes so literally.)
Anyhow, for those of you reading my posts on your iPhone, here is a haiku that should fit on your screen:
Upon Her First Book's Publication
by Christina Dudley
Have nothing on a first book