Excerpt from So Many Books! by Gabriel Zaid, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

So Many Books!

Reading and Publishing in an age of abundance

by Gabriel Zaid

So Many Books!
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    Sep 2003, 160 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Both low and high, rich and poor, together.
My mouth shall speak of wisdom;
and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.

It is a noble temptation, that desire to seize the microphone, to refuse to let the world go (for its own good), to subject it to one's wise words and good intentions. Nevertheless, even at gatherings of specialists the conversation must be broken up when the crowd reaches a certain size, so that the participants don't dwell on generalities and are able to address more subjects, able to say more, in smaller groups. There is no such thing as an infinite capacity for communication. Even supposing that every specialist had the same expertise and interest in every subject, there would be no time to address all subjects in a general gathering. Our simple physical limitations decree that as the number of participants rises, the average time for dialogue decreases. The participation of the whole world in a conversation doesn't enrich the dialogue; it diminishes it.

Imagine an agora, a marketplace, a cocktail party, where multiple conversations are underway. The microphone appears. The many circles become one circle, different conversations become the same conversation. Is this a good thing?

It is a myth: a myth of transparency, of the Tower of Babel replaced by a totalitarian I. We complain about the confusion of languages, the multiplicity of conversations, because we dream of the world's undivided attention, beyond the grasp of our finiteness. But culture is a conversation without a center. The true universal culture isn't the utopian Global Village, gathered around a microphone; it is the Babel-like multitude of villages, each the center of the world. The universality accessible to us is the finite, limited, concrete universality of diverse and disparate conversations.

From So Many Books: Reading & Publishing in an Age of Abundance by Gabriel Zaid, chapter 3, pages 25-33. Copyright Gabriel Zaid 2003. Translated by Natasha Wimmer. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher, Paul Dry Books.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Stalin's Daughter
    by Rosemary Sullivan
    "There is something fatal about my life. You can't regret your fate, though I do regret my ...
  • Book Jacket: A Certain Age
    A Certain Age
    by Beatriz Williams
    Lovers of high-society gossip, there's a new set of players in town. A good 20 out of 23 of our...
  • Book Jacket: The Romanovs
    The Romanovs
    by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    The Romanovs chronicles the reigns of the 20 individuals who were considered members of that dynasty...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Falling
    by Jane Green

    "Readers who enjoy a love story with heart will adore this tale of homecoming and transformation." - LJ

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Secret Language of Stones
    by M. J. Rose

    "A fantastic historical tale of war, love, loss and intrigue."
    – Melanie Benjamin

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Girl Waits with Gun
by Amy Stewart

An enthralling novel based on the forgotten true adventures of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!