Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Out of Print

Happiest find of today was Out of Print, a clothing and accessories site dedicated to classic literature. That's right, you can now WEAR your favorite books! I actually published a poem once that talked about my desire to wear literature; you know, if you love the words of something so much, you just want to wrap yourself up in it from head to toe. I was also speaking on the commercialism of books and clothing, and what is regarded as a necessity (food, shelter, clothing) and what is not (books, words, pen, paper?).

After seeing this site and purchasing the Gatsby fleece for myself I became overwhelmingly happy that someone finally understood that people who love literature should be en-title-d (get it?) to wear it. And what makes me even happier is that in the midst of popular books and movies like Twilight, Hunger Games and Harry Potter, we are reminded what our literary roots are all about. FINALLY, a movie based on classic literature can be celebrated again (The Great Gatsby, out this summer). You bet I will be wearing my Tales of the Jazz Age T-shirt to see that! I think it is good that the youth is reading, even if it is books like those series stated above, but I think it would be best to establish a return to those words and pages that shaped and changed a nation. Life is not always a a dream world; sometimes life is about loss, hardship and a broken heart. Even Joan Didion said the biggest lie she was ever told was "Merrily, merrily, life is but a dream." It sickens me a little that so many adults are into these tween books. We need to be setting the example that not only is reading powerful, but it is part of our identity as a culture; books are a deserving art form. 

I sometimes worry that those growing up today will not understand what it means to be in print. As a worker in the print industry and someone who strives to publish and has been published in print, that disconnect between generations is a disturbing one. Men like F. Scott Fitzgerald died without money, and yet they are immortalized because they gave their lives to the written word. Women like Charlotte Bronte could not even sign their name to a book and were forced to use an alias because it would mean them speaking their mind to the public, a societal taboo. The power of print is a force. It is one I have grew up revering and one I fight to uphold. There are many times I think I too will die penniless, though my name will have been through the printer. And all I can worry about is if I have told the right stories or not. 

"How we read is changing as we move further into the digital age. It’s unclear what the role of the book cover will be in this new era, but we feel it’s more important than ever to reflect on our own individual experiences with great literary art before it’s forever changed.
What’s your story?" -Out of Print website
For every purchase made on this site, a book is donated to a community in need through Out of Print's partner, Books For Africa. Literacy is important. Writing is important. Even more important than shopping. So, let's shop and write ... to change the world. Reading should never go out of style.
What will your legacy be? 


  1. Don't get me wrong it's a pretty amazing feeling the first time a million people view something you wrote on a website... But there is something really special about having it on paper. Once it's gone to print it is there forever. No slight modifications, no tweaks, just your best effort for everyone to see... To critic, to share, To use instead of a puppy pad if they desire. 10 years from now the pages I have written will long be removed from the web but I will still be able to show my kids a yellowed piece of news print and say I did that. I totally get it.

  2. You, beautiful girl are a POWERFUL and THOUGHTFUL WRITER! I love reading your blog, it speaks from your heart. What a beautiful thing that is!

  3. Great article, Beth! I too wonder those very same things... Twenty years from now will children even know what a magazine is, or will it be like the youth of this time period who have never seen a rotary dial phone?
    Personally being a HUGE Jane Austin fan, I'm kind of digging that "Pride and Prejudice" bag. Hmmm... I wonder, is it a book bag perhaps? :)

  4. Bravo, Beth! Thank you for being courageous and writing this post. So much online is superficial but this is so thought provoking and true. I admit to the occasional YA novel, even enjoying them, but I am, at heart, a classicist. I taught Shakespeare to high school students for a couple of semesters and I do think they "got" it. But that was before social networking and other distractions. I do wonder what will be. And thank you for the kick and reminder on my own legacy.


  5. I saw these at my favorite bookstore in NYC - Strand - and I loved them. Yes to the power of print, whether it be magazine, journal, book. I am a life long lover of books and believe wholeheartedly in the power of the printed word. I've been in print myself once or twice (one time in my own words) and never get over the thrill of seeing my words on actual paper. I hope it happens again because I truly believe that words on the page have power and substance.