Post(s) tagged with "books"
I believe that books, once they are written, have no need of their authors. If they have something to say, they will sooner or later find readers; if not, they won’t… . I very much love those mysterious volumes, both ancient and modern, that have no definite author but have had and continue to have an intense life of their own. They seem to me a sort of nighttime miracle, like the gifts of the Befana, which I waited for as a child.
True miracles are the ones whose makers will never be known.
Elena Ferrante, cited by James Wood in The New Yorker
Books are changing, and the nature of reading, what we take away from it, is changing too. Books used to be physically malleable things that we marked, physically, with our experiences: dog-earing them, underlining them, highlighting, and copying out. But the books will not be physical for very much longer.
The great misunderstanding of digitization is to believe that it is only the content and the appearance that matters. That, to reproduce the experience of the book, we needed to make a screen that looked like a page, that turned like a page, that contained words. And the reason that we’ve had difficulty for so long with the notion of eBooks is that that is not all that books are.
Books are journeys, and encoded experiences. The writer has spent months, perhaps years, producing this work out of themselves. That devastating last line of James Joyce’s Ulysses: ‘Trieste – Zurich – Paris 1914 – 1921.’ And the book is the medium of transmission of that experience, so that the reader, too, can experience it, and go on their own journey.
The books are subliming, they are going up into the air, and what will remain of them is our experiences. That experience is encoded in marginalia, in memory, and in data, and it will be shared because we are all connected now, and because sharing is a form of communal prosthetic memory.
When Walter Benjamin wrote that ‘what shrinks in an age where the work of art can be reproduced by technological means is its aura’, he was assuming that the aura diffused, that it was lost to the other reproductions. But digital technologies do not just disseminate, they recombine, and in this reunification of our reading experiences is the future of the book.
James Bridle, “Encoded Experiences”
[Originally published on I Read Where I Am]
(via John Borthwick)
To be sure, some people are never going to be readers. We used to feel sorry for them. Now it’s the norm. With the extreme right, it’s a point of pride. Don’t need no book-learnin’ when Rush and Sean and Bill will tell you the truth. There’s Bible-verse flash cards for knowin’ God’s plan, which is to vote Rick Perry. And the “well read” get their “news” from Web sites and tracts that toe a line of partisan half-truths and superstitions. Here we need a Truman Capote to provide the equivalent putdown of “that’s not writing, that’s typing.” No wonder William F. Buckley, who spent his life trying to create an intellectual American conservatism to counter the marginal no-nothingism of reaction died disillusioned. How a nation with a majority of simpletons faces the most complex dangers in history will be tragedy and farce. I just wish we didn’t have to live through it, too.
Rogue Columnist (via azspot)
Systems that digitize books, like Amazon and Google, transform books into information, and then unbind and rebind it again as an interactive, social and semantic interface.
Bernhard Rieder, via 81,498 Words: the Book as Data Object :: The Unbound Book
Web anthropologist, futurist, author. My focus is the future, and the tectonic forces pushing business, media, and society into an unclear and accelerating future. more.
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