So you've always wanted to meet the brilliant staff of the Overlook Press, but you're too shy to come visit us on Wooster street? Well, now you're in luck! Beginning with last week's profile of Overlook editor Dan Crissman, we are kicking off a brand new employee spotlight feature on The Wingéd Elephant, showcasing the talented staff behind your favorite books. Today we are joined by one of Overlook's most loyal colleagues, production consultant George Davidson. Welcome, George!
OP: Describe your job in 140 characters or less (or more).
GD: So having worked at the job of book production for 51 years, I do have a few words to say. Book production people should help publishers make good decisions about the books considered for publishing. Choosing paper, choosing trim size, choosing proper type for the book and the market are all part of the process. The tactility of books will disappear with e-books, which is the reason those of us who have worked so long with ink and paper want to preserve the 500 + year tradition of participating in making fabulous reading experiences.
OP: What are you currently reading?
GD: Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow. Absolutely wonderful, detailed biography about a very, one might say selfish man, although he loved his wife Martha, but clearly self absorbed in his early life. Incredible how this very well-to-do Virginian turned into a radical. He took being treated as a second class American personally. He didn't get paid as much as English officers. This rankled him.I just finished The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund De Waal. This is the story about the Ephrussi family, a Jewish family originally from Odessa, later planted root in Paris and in Vienna and Tokyo. The description of Vienna in the early part of the twentieth century is really memorable. It's a wonderful, heartbreaking book about this family, written by a most sensitive artist. I've also read The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer. An unforgettable story about Hungarians before and during WWII in Paris and in Hungary.
OP: What is your favorite book that Overlook has published?
GD: True Grit has to be up there. So is Radetsky March.
OP: If you didn't work in publishing, what would you be doing?
GD: Well I am doing it now, singing. I sing with the St. George's Choral Society. We do two concerts a year. I also sing with our temple, mostly high holidays.
OP: What is your favorite word (Can be in any language. Bonus points if there is a funny/interesting story behind it).
GD: I can't say I have a favorite word. Okay, bonjour. You can't have a discussion in France with anybody French unless you first say "bonjour." So it is not a favorite word, but an important word. The French believe you are rude when you don't begin a discussion with bonjour.
Au revoir, George and thanks for chatting with us. Be sure to stop by next week as we continue to introduce new Overlook employees.