Friday, August 09, 2013

Reading about the reading life, August 9, 2013

Once again, here we have a few stories about reading and the reading life. In these, I do try to do more than just a link post by adding some commentary and reflection here and there. Here then this week's selections:

  • At Rappler, Pia Ranada writes a profile, with photos, of Filipino bookstore Solidaridad. This is the kind of little independent bookstore I love to explore. It is owned by a prominent Filipino writer. According to the article, "a visit to Solidaridad Bookshop further proves that Filipiniana literature is a rich mine of unique perspectives, stories, observations, insights and nuggets of wisdom any Filipino reader would do well to explore"I think anyone in addition to Filipinos would do well to explore the store, and more broadly, their literature as well. 
  • As my four readers know, now and then I read a bit of erotica; I may even toss in some erotic romance. A librarian has to keep his readers' advisory cred (and yes, I do like erotica. I am not as big on the romance, but I do see the appeal points). At any rate, I have noticed that in erotic romance, billionaires (usually dominant types) and the women who love them are a big trope/formula in the genre. Cyndy Aleo, at RT Book Reviews, suggests that we need a new trend: nerdrotica. As she defines it, ". . . what I'm really looking for is hardcore nerdy smut. We're talking robots getting it on, freaky cosplayers, strip Magic the Gathering — you name it. And if the words 'Dungeon Master' mean your fantasy play parties involve a 20-sided die as well as a 20-tail flogger, I bet you've been looking for it, too. And it's okay to admit it. We're all geeks here." I will admit that is stuff I would definitely read. The article does include some reading suggestions.
  • A lot of people, including a lot of librarians, have been making a brouhaha over that bookless library in San Antonio, Texas (also known as an e-book station). This article out of The Atlantic Cities asks if such a library can be a revolution in access to the poor. Naturally, what a lot of my colleagues did not seem to think about, in their rush to applaud anything related to e-books, is that the poor, as in the real marginal economically disadvantaged people, may not exactly have much access to a smartphone or a tablet, the devices mostly used to check out those precious e-books. Not to mention that using e-books does require a different skill set than just opening up a print book. Let's not even consider that for libraries e-books are a more expensive proposition (was this really the most fiscally responsible thing to do?), and that e-books often do offer challenges to folks who may suffer various disabilities and impairments. Aside from a voice or two, I don't hear a lot of that coming out of our profession. However, at the end of the day, we do have to ask who exactly does this e-book library benefit? Do notice they put it out in the suburbs, where in essence, the wealthy people have been moving out of the city. Not saying they are not letting the poor huddled masses in (far as I know), but I am just saying. 
  • A bit older piece out of The Telegraph (UK) on second-hand bookstores and serendipity. Though it refers a bit more to antiquarian stores, it is still a fascinating read. Having the good fortune of having visited one or two such places here in the U.S., I can relate to the feeling of walking down aisles of old books and meeting the owner or employee with the prodigious memory.  A bit from the article: "Booksellers tell stories that they regard as tall when they are in the mouths of others of their trade: they are a jealous and envious lot. But they all say that libraries around the country are disembarrassing themselves of 17th- to 19th-century books because, rarely consulted, they are deemed to waste space that could more usefully be devoted to computer stations and multiple copies of Dan Brown, much in demand" Some librarians would say that's just fine. Oh well. On a serious note, librarians do not necessarily come out looking well in the piece. The article's author, Theodore Dalrymple, wrote the book The Pleasure of Thinking.   
  • Here is an interesting piece. Today, a lot of people worry that e-books are this great threat to books and publishing. Yet, in 1939, another threat loomed in the horizon for publishers: paperbacks. Via Mental Floss.  
  • Not so much about reading, but more about handwriting. However, since reading and writing often go hand in hand, I thought it would fit in nicely. Via Tiger Pens Blog, on "Handwriting vs. Technology: 6 Reasons Why Taking Notes by Hand Still Wins."  Though I keep two blogs (four if you count the scratch pad/commonplace one and my Tumblr), I still do the majority of my writing by hand in my personal journal.
Note to appease The Man: I read this as an electronic galley provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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