Showing posts from January 4, 2008

Thank You, and a gift

I just want to say thanks to all of those who have responded -- in comments, in emails, on the phone, and in person -- to my r ather sad end-of-the-year post , and who have said, in essence, Buck Up. Reading's not in decline... you've done so much already... a bookstore is worth waiting for... you'll do it someday... etc. You're all awesome. Your enthusiasm and optimism, and your confidence in me, is like fuel to a fire. It's so good to have that encouragement -- better even than money. Aside from finally getting over a lingering stomachache I had over New Year's, your comments are the only thing to which I can attribute getting out of the blue funk I've been in. I'm excited again, and ready to roll up my sleeves. I've just rediscovered an old favorite, Arts & Letters Daily , that great clearinghouse for the ideas being tossed about in the world, and I'm adding it to my Google homepage. Serendipitously enough, today there's a link to

Reading habits, pre- and post- film age

Just when I needed a bit of cheering up about the ol' "decline of reading" hobbyhorse, my friend Mark sent me this great bit of opinion from John McWhorter's column in the New York Sun: America in 1907 read more than most of us. But did America of 1907 read smarter than us? Transported back to America in 1907, would we savor a book culture less dumbed down than ours? Well, let's take a look at the bestselling fiction of 1907. All 10 were potboilers unknown today. The top seller was "The Lady of the Decoration" by one Frances Little. Others on the list included the likes of "The Port of Missing Men" and "Half a Rogue." Sounds a lot like the mass market portion of the New York Times Bestseller list, eh? At least in paperback fiction we've got Atonement and Water For Elephants (which started out on the BookSense bestseller list , a compilation of sales just from indie bookstores, that tends to be decidedly more "literary&