Mudville the paperback will be released in four weeks. In many regards the paperback is exactly like the hardcover, with some important exceptions.
1. It’s smaller, lighter, cheaper, and more supple.
2. It’s got great review quotes slapped all over it.
3. It’s got a picture of a horse (the Yearling logo) instead of a picture of a dog (the Knopf logo).
I love the dog, but I love the horse too. I have good associations with paperbacks bearing the little horse logo. The little horse was on a lot of my favorite books, from Encyclopedia Brown when I was in first grade to Where the Red Fern Grows in sixth grade, and who knows how many in between. I love that little horse.
I preferred paperbacks as a kid because they were easier to read, easier to stuff into a hip pocket and tote somewhere, and cheap enough that I could buy one once in a while with my allowance. I’d walk a few blocks to a little store on North Fifth Street and pick up some life-changing treasure like The Pigman for maybe sixty cents. To be honest, I think some of the books piled up on the teen table had been sitting there a while so were sitting with the prices of ten years ago. There was a coke machine in that store that sold only bottled coke for a dime a pop (so to speak), so maybe the whole bookstore was in a time warp.
Anyway, paperbacks are inexpensive but awesome things to give someone, so I’m going to hand off a paperback of Mudville to somebody. Here’s the catch: I’m going to pick up a cue from Shaun Hutchinson and give it to a kid. So if you know a boy or girl who might like Mudville, let me know in the comments, and in a few weeks I’ll pick one commenter at random and send off a book with an inscription to you or directly to the kid. Just make sure you use a valid email address when you leave your comment so I contact you if you win.
And you might want to take Shaun up on his suggestion to give a kid a book, too — especially a kid who might not read that much, otherwise, but would if you walked up out of the blue and handed that kid a book. That’s a great value for the cost of a paperback.