Sunday, August 26, 2012

"We believe you now, Cassandra..."

"If you’d wanted to know which way the world was headed in the mid-20th century, you wouldn’t have found much indication in any of the day’s literary prizewinners. You’d have been better advised to consult a book from a marginal genre with a cover illustration of a stricken figure made of newsprint catching fire.
     Prescience is not the measure of a science-fiction author’s success — we don’t value the work of H. G. Wells because he foresaw the atomic bomb or Arthur C. Clarke for inventing the communications satellite — but it is worth pausing, on the occasion of Ray Bradbury’s death, to notice how uncannily accurate was his vision of the numb, cruel future we now inhabit."
— Tim Kreider, The New York Times

Monday, August 20, 2012


Interior of Colin Page Books, Brighton, UK

“'It’s the smell, I’ll miss.'
     'It’s the texture of the page, for me.'
     'It’s that reassuring weight they’ll never replace.'
     In the ongoing debates about the rise of the ebook, you generally don’t have to wait long until someone invokes the physical attributes of mouldering bookshelves as the missing ingredient from electronic texts. Yet you don’t have to make a fetish of physicality to notice that there are several ways in which the business of owning and reading an electronic book remains inferior to doing the same with a paper copy. And, ironically enough, the most significant of these involves something at which digital media allegedly excel: sharing. [...]
     If this sounds slightly utopian, well, that’s because it is. It shouldn’t stretch credibility too far, though, to note that belief in the very notion of 'books' enduring as a 21st Century form requires more than gathering together a certain number of words. If they are to maintain vigour and impact within the brutally Darwinian internet world, both textual aspirations of permanence and a corresponding density of cultural engagement are urgently required: the mutually invigorating embrace, in other words, of authors and audiences. One of the adages of digital media has long been that relationships matter more than mere purchases: between creators and consumers, but also within those communities of consumers who have an increasingly vocal impact on the creative process."
— Tom Chatfield, BBC Future

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Natural Selection; Endangered Species

Just returned from a trip to the the U.K. and was surprised to discover that the selection of books in the two W. H. Smith bookstores I visited (one in Hove and another in Brighton) was, at best, dismal.
     Other than this glorious bookstore (Colin Page Books, Duke Street, Brighton) the best place to find a decent roster of reading material was in the W. H. Smith bookstore at the airport.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Gore Vidal (October 3, 1925 – July 31, 2012)

"Gore Vidal, the elegant, acerbic all-around man of letters who presided with a certain relish over what he declared to be the end of American civilization, died on Tuesday at his home in the Hollywood Hills section of Los Angeles, where he moved in 2003, after years of living in Ravello, Italy. He was 86.
     The cause was complications of pneumonia, his nephew Burr Steers said by telephone. [...]
     He published some 25 novels, two memoirs and several volumes of stylish, magisterial essays. He also wrote plays, television dramas and screenplays. For a while he was even a contract writer at MGM. And he could always be counted on for a spur-of-the-moment aphorism, putdown or sharply worded critique of American foreign policy."
— Charles McGrath, The New York Times

You can find Gore Vidal's books here...