Lately, I’ve been reminded of how many well-known books I haven’t read. When Harper Lee’s long-awaited sequel was published, our pastor asked for a show of hands: “How many of us have read her first book, To Kill a Mockingbird?” Virtually every hand in the congregation was raised, except mine.

When I sat in on a hospice chaplain’s conversation with a patient, he turned to me and asked, “Have you read the book, Ninety Minutes in Heaven?” Well, no. In fact, it’s safe to say that I’ve read almost nothing on the bestseller lists–fiction or nonfiction, Christian or secular–for much of my adult life.

You see, I’m a book editor, so my days (and nights) are consumed with reading book manuscripts. Few of them are ever published, and fewer still become bestsellers.

I’ve read countless inspirational and devotional manuscripts whose banality and naiveté left me depressed. I rejected them so you wouldn’t have to share my Prozac.

I’ve read autobiographies that convinced me Thoreau was right: The majority of men lead lives of quiet desperation. I rejected them…which probably became another anecdote in their tales of woe.

I’ve read Bible studies that drove me to read the Bible text again, incredulous that Holy Writ could contain such teachings. And it didn’t. So those books were rejected, too.

In fact, I recall only one book manuscript that I read which became a New York Times bestseller. That book owed little to me, much more to the capable author who wrote it and the knowledgeable salespeople who introduced it to the public.

I labor not alone. There are hundreds–perhaps thousands–of book editors in this country who dutifully read dozens of manuscripts a year and conclude they ought not to inflict such suffering on trusting readers like you. Remember us when you curl up with your next cup of tea and a stimulating book. We hope to join you someday.