"Immersion in the life of the world, a willingness to be inhabited by and to speak for others, including those beyond the realm of the human, these are the practices not just of the bodhisattva but of the writer." --Jane Hirshfield

Sunday, April 26, 2009

We don't serve your type.

Somehow, I don't think the torture memos (see previous post) were written in Comic Sans. But, apparently, everything else is and some people have a problem with that.

Literature of the Bush Administration

We love to torture.

The resemblance to Dick Cheney is scary.

Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter

What else is there to say? But somehow, Bill Clinton, vampire hunter, would work better for me. Maybe because it seemed the undead really came out after him.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

"The day I let the media set my reading list

is the day I want someone to creep up on me with a big blunt instrument." Not to be outdone, here is A Reader's Revenge.

"I just know from my own experience how much harder it is to meet a novel-reader now than it was twenty or even ten years ago. So many intelligent people seem to have given up on novels because they trusted the media to pick out the best ones for them. And of course it's the quality of contemporary fiction that's driving them away. The stuff is just dull. How often are we told to interpret our boredom or irritation with a new novel as a surefire indication that it's challenging, and therefore good? DeLillo "has earned a right to bore us for our own good," as Salon puts it. You've got to hand it to postmodernism; no other literary movement in history ever spread so much boredom in the name of playfulness! But it's precisely the intelligent people who wander off to art forms they can enjoy, like the movies. What you have left are the puritans, the grinds, the cachet-hunters, because it's never occurred to them that the arts can be fun."

Strong opinions, but interesting to consider from the point of view that publishers are letting non-readers down. I know I have given up on anointed best-sellers because "the media" gave me a few bad recommendations. Bad and expensive.

But watching TV, ah, that's living

Publishers, retailers and librarians are missing out on a potential market of 20m consumers because the book world is too intimidating, according to research conducted by HarperCollins, the Trade Publishers Council and the National Year of Reading (NYR).

The research, to be published this week, looked at attitudes to books in the C2DE socio-economic group, characterised as lower income, non-professional families and estimated at 20m in size.

It found that in many such families, books were seen as alien and unattractive, while reading was considered an anti-social activity for people who, as one respondent said, "don’t know how to live."

...They are one step away from book-buying - they do consume lots of leisure products and may have 2-300 DVDs in the house.

I thought this article at The Bookseller was a good follow-up to A Reader's Manifesto, which I just dug up and reread. It explains why modern literature turns people off. It's just not any good, it seems.