I have lost track if the number of emails I have received from readers who have gone in search of Truck: A Love Story at their local bookstore or library and eventually found it filed in the Automotive section between (as one reader put it) “the Chilton manuals and Peterson catalogs and coffee table books with pictures of great muscle cars of the 60s.” This is a teeth-grinding problem*, and both my publisher and I are painfully aware of it. The problem arose way back before the book came out, when the Library of Congress assigned it a primary classification of “Automotive Repair.”
Now then. Anyone who has actually read Truck knows that when it comes to automotive matters I am a one-man Three Stooges act. In fact, wherever I am concerned, “automotive repairs” should be placed in scare quotes indeed. Thus, the classification is a clear-cut case of irony meets travesty. However — as both the publisher and I have discovered — the Library of Congress is an all-powerful edifice, and will not be moved. We have tried, and tried again, and they (it?) refuse(s) our entreaties. Furthermore, overworked and understaffed bookstores and libraries rarely have the time to reconfigure their shelves due to the sound of one author whining.
Then one day I received word from the Northwest that one man had done the impossible: caused the gigantic Seattle-area King County Library System to re-catalogue Truck as “current sociology/humor/commentary.” Glory be. Last night the final man in the book-signing line stuck out his hand and said, “I’m the guy who got them to re-shelve Truck.”
Folks, he’s an unassuming fellow named Tom. But as far as I am concerned, he is the Pope. I briefly considered dropping to one knee and kissing his ring, but that would have been awkward for both of us, so we settled for a blurry cell phone photo:
The most powerful man in America also has more hair than me.
Thank you sir, for a critical (if esoteric) victory.
*I do admit that on three separate occasions I have received emails from readers reporting they found my book while looking for a Chilton manual (once a man dispatched his wife for the manual and she brought home my book instead), so there has been some guerrilla-style cross-marketing upside.
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