“A Book Is Best! Absolutely!”

Presented without comment, jacket copy from the first American edition of Australian writer Charlotte Jay‘s thriller The Voice of the Crab (New York: Harper and Row, 1974), held in the Caroline F. Schimmel Fiction Collection of Women in the American Wilderness at Penn’s Kislak Center (Schimmel Fiction 6057):

A Book Is Best!

It really is. You can read a book anywhere you choose. In a crowded station. Or at home, in bed (and drop it when you fall asleep) or in your most comfortable chair, with a cold bottle of beer or a hot cup of tea or a delicious sandwich at hand. Or on a sandy beach, or on the top of a mountain. Wherever you are, it can be. It doesn’t confine you to the room of its choice. It doesn’t interrupt you at its most exciting or thoughtful moments with commercials for underarm deodorants or tell you about a whipped cream substitute to put on your baked potatoes, when you’d rather not be told.

It doesn’t make you stand in a long line on a cold and windy or hot and sultry day to be able to share its pleasures.

It doesn’t make you reserve tickets in advance. Or see it (or a rerun) on a certain day at a certain hour.

It’s all yours to command. You can read it once. You can reread it—any part or the whole of it—whenever and wherever you choose. To someone, or by yourself. You can read slow or fast.

And books can stir your imagination, inform you, amuse you, comfort you, excite you, scare you to any degree that you choose. They can help you to understand yourself, or the boy next door, or your granddaughter. They can freeze you at the South Pole, or take you into the depths of the steamiest jungle. Or into the boudoir of a millionaire’s daughter, into the cell of a prison, or the court of a king. Instantly! While you are comfortable, perhaps in your bathrobe, perhaps in your beach robe, perhaps—well, you choose it—the book couldn’t care less. There is no form of entertainment and edification as convenient, as obliging, and as suited to your creature comforts as a book.

Just remember that!

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