You know how sometimes a seemingly random detail from the past stays with you? Over a decade ago, I read an article that, as an aside, noted that the President and Publisher of Knopf, Sonny Mehta, snacked on pistachios as he stretched out on his sofa and read manuscripts.
With that in mind, I queried some of the most powerful publishers in town to see what they noshed on when they read. The results, Nation, are disappointing. Am I the only person out there who doesn’t mind a bag of mini carrots or micro-waved popcorn with my 600 page novel? Here’s what I got:
“I never eat while reading mss — I don’t want to get crumbs on my Kindle. And I don’t want any distractions.” I didn’t say eat an Entemann’s Crumb Cake, for chrissakes, but an apple? Oh, I know, you don’t want to get any juice on the devise. I never thought about Kindles vis-a-vis snacking. Hmmmm.
Another publisher writes in: “Though I’m no stranger to noshing, I don’t nosh while reading. Hard to turn those pages with a Haagen-Dazs in your mitt.” Newflash: I can eat a pint of HD, blackberry, and daydream about White Water Rafting Guide Abe WHILE DRIVING. Publisher continues: “For me, nothing goes better with a manuscript than a Diet Coke.” No argument there. A DC is always welcome. When the next response came in, I began to detect a TREND:
“I never eat when I’m reading. Only a diet coke. Occassionally I’ll chew gum.” Me, too, I love a stick of gum from time to time.
Then I thought I might have detected another TREND with my next respondent: “I used to chew Orbit sugarless gum — alternating among cinnamon, bubblegum, and wintergreen. But recently I’ve made the switch to Stride, which has a tasty sweet peppermint, and Flare, which offers a much zingier cinnamon. This was a big change for me but I think it’s important to shake things up a bit in your life sometimes. “ Friends, I kid you not, this publisher probably can claim more bestsellers than anyone out there. Well, is it any surprise with this level of discernment!
Another allows how she doesn’t snack, but drinks lots of coffee with cream. Not mik, cream. Whoa, indulgent! And then another publisher puts the last nail in the casket, “God knows I love to eat, but I don’t do it while reading for some reason.” Then it dawned on me, maybe all this explains why I was never elevated to publisher.
Filed under: The End of the World as We Know It