Avast and ahoy!
2017 has truly been a year of oceanic proportions, both for Bookmarks and for yours truly. It seems hard to believe that the Bookmarks bookstore has been open for scarcely six months. The place has become so much a home to me that I have a hard time imagining my life without it.
And yet, when I washed unwittingly into this year back in January, I had no idea I would have the honor of becoming Kraken-in-Residence for such an esteemed institution. At that time I was thoughtlessly idling away my hours in the old Kraken Cove, reading for pleasure when I could, but otherwise letting the currents of fortune take me where they wished. I had given up hope of any career that could suit my literary talents, for neither my attempt at running my own aquatic bookstore nor my weekly newsletter of poetry and criticism (titled The Literary Leviathan) had lasted more than a few months. I was coming to realize that the marine literary establishment had little room for a new and original voice such as my own.
It was by chance that I heard of a new bookstore opening some ways inland, and at first I did not even consider that I, a creature of the deep sea, could be eligible for a position at such an place. But eventually my old school friend Harold the Hippocamp convinced me, over a meal of seaweed salad and algae alla carbonara, that I should apply for a position there. After all, what else did I have to do with my time but reorganize the shelves in my grotto and watch reruns of Ponds and Sedimentation?
My relocation and new employment at Bookmarks not only gave me opportunities to review, meet, and converse with some of the most talented authors on terra firma; it also brought me back into contact with my old friend Daisy the Dragon, whose advice sent me on a fantastical journey such as I could scarce have dreamt of at the year’s beginning. This past year has been a great adventure for me, and I cannot wait to see what new delights the next will bring!
But I must not waste your precious screen space wallowing in the past year’s achievements, basking in the refracted light of the literary luminaries, diving into the crevices of memory, thence to extract the gleaming ores thrown up by benthic vents, and floating in the cool embracing tide left by the old year’s receding storms. No, I must not swim in the manner of an electric eel – that is to say, facing backwards – but must move on with all the steady surety of a shark. And so let us leave off reminiscences of what has been and look now to the future, to make resolutions for the year to come.
For as Daisy has reminded me (in the midst of DragoNaNoWriMo, when she was short on patience and liable to give unsolicited criticism), it is very easy to go on blogging about this or that famous author one has met at such-and-such an event, but one runs the risk of becoming egotistical. This blog is more than a place to boast my own literary taste, impeccable though it undoubtedly is. Its central mission, like that of Bookmarks itself, is to connect readers to books.
My and Daisy’s first resolution for 2018 is to publish replies to our readers’ queries every other week or so, for the benefit of any book-loving beasts who find themselves befuddled when confronted with the Bookmarks store’s enormous stock. Following the mythological community’s outpouring of gratitude for our most recent post, which gave gift recommendations for a variety of legendary creatures, Daisy and I have decided that we ought to make a regular habit of giving personalized recommendations on the blog. Daisy has begun spreading the word among her dragon friends, and we are already starting to receive a flood of mail from our reptilian readers. Even if you are human or from some other non-mythological species, we welcome your requests for book recommendations. You can always contact both of us at email@example.com.
The second of my resolutions is a more personal one. Since coming ashore this summer, I have been trying as quickly as I can to acquaint myself with the highlights of the human literary canon. Though I have worked my way through a number of the classics and made some forays into the world of contemporary fiction, I still find that there are significant gaps in my knowledge of human literature. I have resolved in 2018 to push the boundaries of this limited knowledge, to read far and wide outside my comfortable cove of novels with aquatic themes. I hope to review some of what I read on this blog, in the hopes that certain of my readers will be interested in hearing my uniquely pelagic perspectives.
I hope that you, too, my gentle readers, will resolve to read widely and bravely in the new year. Just think how many books now lying unopened on your bedside table will in twelve months be like old friends, their spines bent, their pages thumbed and smoothed. And that is not even counting the fantastic and fascinating books yet to be discovered or published or written in the months to come. Imagine now how many secrets and surprises you will have discovered in the next three hundred-some days of reading! It is enough to make one’s tentacles tremble with excitement.
Here’s to a bright and book-filled new year!
Karl the Kraken