Friday, April 27, 2012

Reading about the reading life, April 27. 2012

A few more items on reading and the reading life I have read recently, or that I have pondered about recently.

  • Via Berfrois, a post on travel writing, tourism, and how traveling usually means often seeing one part of the place.  What the tourists often get is a performance, a show, an illusion of the tourist attraction. Things like the poor of a nation overseas are rarely if ever seen. They are also missing from travel narratives. This is a nice little reflective piece. 
  • Via The New York Times, it turns out that India is "one of the best English-language book markets in the world." Publishers large and small are heading there, in part hoping for new markets and income given the chaos e-books is causing them in their home nations. This also means more literary agencies are sprouting and thriving. Another reason: demographic changes, rising literacy and the increase of Indians speaking English, the lingua franca of economic growth." 
  • It seems that taking a trip from mainland China into Hong Kong to buy books censored by the Chinese government is a big business in Hong Kong. An article entitled "Beating China's Book Bans in Hong Kong" was published by the Asia Sentinel. I find interesting the ways people find workarounds and how they adapt in order to get the reading that they want. You can censor all you want. People will get it somehow. 
  • A nice gallery of book sculptures. Basically, the artist takes old books, that likely would have been pulped or ended up in a landfill, and makes beautiful sculptures with it. Find the gallery here at The Telegraph (UK). A statement from the artist can be found here.  A hat tip to 3 Quarks Daily over here.
  • Via the blog Papeles Perdidos, a discussion of the apparent curse of Dashiell Hammett's novel Red Harvest (Spanish language article). The curse is that the novel, unlike others by the same author, has not been made into a movie. It discusses reasons and goes over some of the noir genre. Article comes in context of a new Spanish language translation of the complete works featuring the Continental Op by Hammett. 
  • Via The Christian Science Monitor, a defense on why we do need indie bookstores.  A bit from the article: "What makes excellent booksellers excellent is that they read a ton, they are surrounded by and have at their disposal people who do the same, and that they are skilled at the practice of giving recommendations.  Make no mistake, giving recommendations is a skill. Just ask any master sommelier (or customer who has had the misfortune of interacting with a lousy bookseller).  You have to listen to what a customer says about their tastes, interests, and desires and discern from that what it is they’re looking for, what will most satisfy them right now.  It is a delicate process of matchmaking." Gee, that sounds just like Reader's Advisory, a skill your local librarian has, and you can certainly use when you visit your local public library. I am not saying to abandon your indie bookstores; far from it, I love indie bookstores, and we need more good ones in Tyler, Texas. But hey, you certainly should take a trip to your local library too, especially if your budget is a little tight.

No comments: