Some interesting facts about books in America: some 292,014 books are published every year, making the USA the country which publicize most books in the world.
Sweden is number 48, a long way down after both Finland and Denmark, which can’t reasonably be accurate. The statistical nerd in me quickly establishes that it isn’t: the numbers for Sweden is for 2010, those for Finland from 2006, and Denmark from 1996, making them strictly, statistically speaking, difficult to compare.
I’ll get to the bottom of this one day. Unfortunately not today, since I have a novel to write.
Helen Hanff, the great woman who wrote 84, Charing Cross Road, quoted some guy who’d said: everyone goes to London with their very own image of what they’re going to find there, and everyone find exactly the London they’re looking for. I think it’s the same with the United States.
So this is the USA I’m looking for: small towns, size, craziness, originals, books and corn.
Things I wanted to see in Iowa: small towns. The library in Spencer that once had a library cat named Dewey Readmore Books. Corn. Soya beans as a back-up plan. So before the trip I talked about it with Carina.
She: “Who wants to see soya beans?”
Me: “I just didn’t want you to think I was unreasonable if we were driving around Iowa looking for corn fields and not finding them.”
Carina: “We’ll definitely see those corn fields”, and then it was settled.
I’ve liked Carina ever since she wrote me to say how much she liked my book. Flattery is such a good start of a friendship. But even so, it may seem a little bit extreme to book a trip to the USA without ever having met.
It happened like this (the conversation takes place on Facebook):
She: “I’m going to Minneapolis to attend some seminars. Wouldn’t it be fun if you came with me and spent your days driving over to Iowa?”
Me: “Sounds lovely, but unfortunately I don’t have a driver’s licence for cars.”
She: “I might have a meeting in New York on the following Tuesday, so I could take two days to drive you to Iowa.”
(My own business meetings tend to take place in cities like Örebro.)
Me: “You know I’m the kind of person who could take that seriously?”
She: Silence. More silence. Eventually: “How… nice.”
Me: “So when do you know if you’re going to NY?”
She: “I’ll… be in touch.”
So there you have it. Two days later we booked the tickets, and another week later we met for the first time to find out if the other one was a complete psycho. So far so good.