This week marks the USA's 30th annual Banned Books Week (sponsored by half a dozen American library, bookseller, journalist and publisher associations; and endorsed by about half a dozen more.) During Banned Books Week, bookstores and libraries across the USA celebrate (for want of a better word) the books that have been challenged or outright banned from libraries with in store displays, readings and so forth.
In a series of lectures, Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk ruminated on what goes on in the mind of a person reading a novel. His thoughts are summarized by Susan K. Perry, Ph.D. below.
Do these match your experiences? The point about finishing a (great) novel and feeling that it had been written just for me particularly struck home - it maybe irrational but it's so true!
The slow-mo implosion of Borders has created an enormous amount of commentary, but perhaps none as visceral as the poster spotted in a Borders in Santa Rosa, California.
"Thanks to art, instead of seeing only one world and time period, our own, we see it multiplied and can peer into other times, other worlds which offer windows to other lives. Each time we enter imaginatively into the life of another, it's a small step upwards in the elevation of the human race.
Every week seems to bring news of more bookstores closing, not least this week with the news that Borders will definitely be going into liquidation and many of its remaining stores will close. So here to brighten your Friday is a happy little time-lapse video of a new bookstore going from empty to open in less than 80 seconds.
According to Booker Prize-winning author Penelope Lively, e-books are for "bloodless nerds". Considering her somewhat advanced 78 years, one might assume that this was simply a reaction to new technology, but Lively owns an iPad (although she "wouldn't dream of reading a book on it" unless she was traveling or in hospital) and, for what it's worth, thirteen of her books are available as ebooks, including Moon Tiger (which won the Booker Prize in 1987).
To be fair, although the "bloodless nerd" soundbite is being quoted far and wide today, her full comment was, "It seems to me that anyone whose library consists of a Kindle lying on a table is some sort of bloodless nerd." Do you think she has a point? If a person's entire literary collection was contained within an electronic device, might their experience with reading be a tad soulless? Or does the written word rise above the confines of the media containing it?