I’m in the middle of reading Walden on my Kindle and at the beginning of reading Adam Begley’s Updike in hardcover, but tomorrow is May 8, which is — as everyone knows — Pynchon in Public Day, so I’ll also be carrying a portable mass-market Bantam edition of Gravity’s Rainbow that’s been read a number of times and which has its spine reinforced with tape. Once I start digging into one of my favorite books on the train tomorrow, I may soon have three books in progress.
On the second leaf of this edition before the title page is an excerpt of a San Francisco Examiner review from Geoffrey Wolff that has always stayed with me: “Forests have gone to the blade to make paper for this novel. Don’t mourn the trees; read the book.” As a fan of Thomas Pynchon and of trees, that line has haunted me since the 1970s when I picked up my first copy of this novel.
I never doubted the use of trees to produce his book, but now with my own new novel published this month, I don’t need to even worry about making that choice. So far it’s only available in electronic versions.