Pure chance

I read this a long time ago. It was about a very successful novel, which seemingly only managed to be published by chance. This was back in the days of slushpiles in publishers’ offices, when you didn’t need to charm an agent to sell your book.

This particular novel came to the attention of someone important simply because it was lying on the pile when this man ran for his commuter train home, and having nothing to read, he grabbed the book on top and started reading.

I can’t remember what the book was, except I thought it was great, and it seemed perfectly obvious to me then that it should be discovered and not just by accident. But I dare say that even then there were ‘too many books’ and some fell through the cracks and were never seen again.

Or something.

Anyway, this man obviously loved the book and contacted the author immediately and success followed, etc, etc.

I think of this tale whenever I do something similar. No, I don’t publish books, and I can’t make anyone’s fortune, but I do have piles of books. Most of the time they are well ordered and there is some kind of system behind how I pick my next book to read. But occasionally I just grab one. I’ve come to believe in not thinking too much, some of the time.

And I too come across unexpected wonders; sometimes in time for publication day, but often long after, when it just felt as if the turn had come for this particular book. I like this random-ness. And because it is random, I can’t plan it.

Or there is always eeny meeny miny moe. That works too.


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