Friday, July 13, 2012

Reading about the reading life, July 13, 2012

A few items of interest on reading and the reading life for this. I do clip a few of these, but I don't always get to read them right away. Maybe I need to work on that, and maybe I could make this kind of post a more regular feature of the blog. Anyhow, here are this week's items.

  • Via NPR, on the topic of who might inherit your books, but what if they are e-books? It is an interesting question to me. While I have a small personal library, it is by no means valuable. It is the library of a reader, not a collector. I think I will be lucky if my kid keeps some and the rest get donated to some library that may want them. However, at least the books have the potential to be passed on and read by someone else when my demise comes. E-books don't really stand a chance in that regard. Between the obsolescence by design of e-readers, passwords (what if your heirs did not get your password), format changes, so on, odds are good your heirs are not getting your e-books any time soon. If you can learn about a person by the books he reads, you won't be learning a whole lot if you can't get into grandma's Kindle she may have left you, or, if you do get in, you may find out granny was one of those hidden romance/erotica readers (the kind who would not be caught dead with a print romance or erotica book but kept plenty of them on the e-reader). 
  • Greg Zimmerman, at Book Riot, asks what is a "summer read"? Personally, I never really understand the whole fuss over "summer reads." Maybe it is because I read throughout the year, so summer is no different than any other time of the year when it comes to reading. Also, I tend to read "serious" books as well as "light" reading any time of the year, so the distinction just does not work for me. Anyhow, feel free to read the piece and see where you stand. 
  • Via The Atlantic, to think there was a time when large stretches of the U.S. did not have a single bookstore. The article mentions that in 1931, there were 500 or so legitimate bookstores in the U.S. In contrast, today bookstores are facing extinction thanks to e-readers and other changes. The article also mentions a book by historian Kenneth C. Davis that I may want to add to my TBR list. The book is Two-Bit Culture: The Paperbacking of America. The book was published in 1984, so it is not terribly new, but The Atlantic author writes that "many of the changes that social media and the Internet are supposed to have wrought on culture are ascribed to the rise of the paperback."

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