To get this ball rolling, I'm going to have to provide you with information that will seem trivial at first, but I promise has some kind of relevance.
I've worn many hats around this bookstore of ours. Before making my triumphant return to the sales floor as a bookseller, I worked in our events department. This might seem like something I'm just throwing out there, as I don't intend to elaborate much more than that, but this means that I rubbed elbows with an unsung hero who is, in one case, becoming all the more unsung as time goes on.
On June 16th, 2009, we hosted an event for local author, and all around great guy, Matthew Simmons. We were there, at the College Inn Pub, for his novella (really a novelette, as you will often hear me say) A Jello Horse. Book Editor for The Stranger, and all around nice guy, Paul Constant was also in attendance.
At the time of the event, neither myself nor Mr. Constant had any kind of firsthand knowledge of the book itself. Matthew had intimated that there were jackalopes, but that was literally the full extent of how informed I was. Danielle, my equally bespectacled counterpart in events, had already read the book and shared a theory which was then transmuted into advice. She said something to the effect that the book was best experienced in one read. With a total of 67 pages, this is an entirely achievable goal, and something that I'm not alone in saying I totally appropriated from her.
These words undoubtedly influenced Paul to say what he said (re: how it should be read), and I can quite honestly say that they alone led me to say what I said in my staff recommendation for the book (something to the effect of "read it in one sitting. If not for yourself, for your children").
The reason why I'm writing about this now is that A Jello Horse has made it into its fourth printing from Publishing Genius Press, which has led to a new jacket design for the book.
See that in the bottom corner? Danielle's words have reached, I think, the height of what a reader's words can reach in regards to a work of literature. That is, a variant is featured on the cover of the work itself. So, to Danielle I say: thank you for sharing your words with us. It enhanced my experience with the book, and has done/will do the same for plenty of others.
Since I still have you here, I feel I should suggest that you take a look at the work of Matthew Simmons. He's an impressive talent that is really on the rise, and for good reason. Along with being the author of A Jello Horse, he is The Man Who Couldn't Blog, the forthcoming author of too many things to count (a novel and two short story collections, I think), and teaches a class at the Richard Hugo House from time to time.
But don't take my word for it! Instead, look at this and see (a second opinion) for yourself.
PS: Thank you, Paul Constant, for allowing me to lean on your words for some kind of credibility.