Thursday, October 20, 2005

Meta-Reading Again 

I've been busy. I've had a wedding (see here for evidence), and work's been hectic, and one of my bridesmaids got me sick. I just came home from the grocery store. I checked the mail, walked into my apartment with it, set it down to start typing on my computer, and now I can't find it. My head is that full of cold and cold-medicine.

So my reading has been limited. I'm working, essay by essay, though Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times, edited by Kevin Smokler. Only halfway done, but loving it. The introduction takes on the NEA survey I ranted about. Smokler's thesis is that readers are expanding their libraries to include online writings, and that's not a bad thing. He cites the increasing number of e-newsletters and blogs devoted to books (like this one). Readers debate the future of publishing as well as the fate of the characters in Harry Potter. He, at least, sees these as good omens for reading. Reading's changing, not dying. The essays are great. One dissects the "author's photo" that graces the back of many books. One critiques the concept of the invisible narrator, especially in interview/profiel pieces. The essays are on all different topics, by all different writers, and so far, I've enjoyed them all.

And I mailed a copy of Michael Dirda's Readings to my cousin in Europe. He's loving it. It's a collection of essays about (surprise) reading, everything from falling in love with cheap paperbacks as a kid to muddling through "classics" as an adult. Each essay stands alone, and was originally meant to stand alone as individual columns in the Washington Post Book Section, but as a whole they describe a man, complete through reading.

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