Have we ever lived in a more wonderful age for readers? Self-published authors can reach a huge audience cheaply; the "long tail" means books with a tiny appeal can still be read; and popular successes are still commanding huge audiences, in hundreds of thousands or even millions.Well, gosh, Julia, you say - surely he's right here?
Well, read on:
But the internet that presents any classic you can think of, pretty well, may be the thing that makes it harder to read that classic.Errr...
Technology is one thing, impossible to resist or address, but another, more puzzling, is the institutional attitude towards books and reading. We all pay lip service to the importance of reading, but no public body seems very interested in serving it.Ahhh, yes. Forget that the Internet and, more specifically, the e-book phenomenon, has brought instant access to books. If the State ain't involved, it ain't working properly..!
Front Row, where Rendell raised the question, is one of very few places on BBC radio where books can be mentioned, and does a very good job on an excruciatingly tiny budget. British terrestrial television hasn't had any kind of book programme for years – it engages with literature in rare, brisk dramatisations. What does television do, very happily? Well, a glance at BBC's schedules today shows five complete hours devoted to antiques, or, more accurately, junk-shop bargaining, and another two to baking. Is it not conceivable that half of one of those hours might, very cheaply, be devoted to talking about the passion of millions in this country: books?Why? Most of the first half of your article shows that there isn't a problem. In fact, you haven't even outlined what you believe to be a problem in the rest of the article, except for this vagueness:
But when the American author George Saunders talks about "the very real (what feels like) neurological effect of the computer and the iPhone and texting and so on – it feels like I've re-programmed myself to become discontent with whatever I'm doing faster", everyone must recognise the sensation.*baffled face*
I have a suggestion to affirm literature at the centre of our national life. Doctors, currently, operate to an official recommendation of no more than 21 units of alcohol (for men) a week, no less than five pieces of fruit or vegetable a day. Why shouldn't the government encourage the simple question: "Are you reading enough?"Well, maybe because no-one listens to government on anything else?
"Why shouldn't the government encourage the simple question: "Are you reading enough?"
Because within a nanosecond the question will become 'are you reading your 5-A-Day from the APPROVED list...Citizen?'
In a country where Thomas The Tank Engine is considered to misogynistic you know it makes sense and lets not even mention that other classic children's book 'Not Over Tall Juvenile Of Indeterminate Gender Of African Heritage' (or 'Little Black Sambo' as it was formerly known in the Unenlightened preCIF Era).
BBC news channel has a regular slot called "Meet The Author" presented by Nick Higham. He must have missed it.
This blog, online newspapers, social media. A heaving mass of the opinions of others. Ever present and everchanging and only ever at the end of the choice to *click*. There's certainly no shortage of the opinions of others.
Books are surely one of the last refuges of an enquiring mind as yet undisturbed by the intrusion of pontifications of others.
Father Dear Father...permanently glued to books we know nothing about as books are subjective and personal and our opinions are not required or solicited...would say "And long may that reign !"
Is the Guardian looking to up its reader base?
If he had wittered on about not everyone having e-readers to read books on - a phone just does not cut it, neither do tablets because of their back lighting - I might think about maybe agreeing with him.
If he had said something about the lack of reading skills instilled in children in schools due to the last governments education, education, education dumbing down then I would have agreed.
Oh dear. Is Mr Hensher ill?
Great heavens an e-reader has widened my range of literary choices. Classics, go to Gutenburg, they are free! Oh I forgot, he means "his" choice of classics, PC socially aware and approved rot. I still have my copy of "Little Black Sambo", at least I know what time it will be at 4 o'clock when the Thought Polizei arrive.
"a phone just does not cut it, neither do tablets because of their back lighting .....
Got ma biatch one for Xmas.
She is enthralled.
"In a country where Thomas The Tank Engine is considered to misogynistic you know it makes sense..."
"This blog, online newspapers, social media. A heaving mass of the opinions of others."
Ah, but Hensher would rather you listened to the opinions of people like...well, like Hensher! And only to those.
"Oh I forgot, he means "his" choice of classics, PC socially aware and approved rot. "
Got ma biatch one for Xmas.
She is enthralled."
I'm tempted - my Kindle Fire HD does books well, though.
I still think Shakespere is a load of crap.
Was zum Spreuth:
O villain! Thou wilt be condemned into everlasting redemption for this.
Really, it has nothing to do with Shakespere himself. I just HATE reading plays.
Put Shaky, or Strindberg, or Goethe into novel form, and probably no problem. But a play is meant for the stage, NOT as bed time reading.
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