A Freedom of Books

A Freedom of Books

When Maya Angelou was eight, a lady took her to the local black school library. The shelves held some 300 books, ragged copies donated from the white school and rebound with shingles covered in pretty cloth. “I want you to read every book,” the lady said.

“I don’t say I understood those books, but I read every book, and each time I would go to the library, I felt safe.”

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How to Disappear/Save a Book

How to Disappear/Save a Book

Madeleine Thien’s Giller- and GG-winning novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, is set partly in China in the culturally turbulent years after the Second World War. Two sisters, Swirl and Big Mother Knife, are story-tellers who travel the country performing story cycles. “Stories, even in times like these, were a refuge, a passport, everywhere.”

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Paper—Life’s Hard Copy

Paper—Life’s Hard Copy

Paper is not forever: it can be burned, cut, torn, crumpled, lost; it can rot, discolour, disintegrate; be eaten away by mice and mould. Even so, it is more enduring than what we think or what we say. It has the strength to carry words across vast landscapes and through millennia, from one person to hundreds, thousands, even millions.
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You Can’t Judge a Book by its Cover

You Can’t Judge a Book by its Cover

Annie Proulx learned to read when she was four. She read obsessively, as writers-to-be tend to do. When she was eight, she fell for Jack London’s Before Adam, a book with a black buckram cover that “influenced my choice of library books for years.” When she was eleven, she was seduced by Mutiny on the Bounty, “bound in tropic beach-sand beige. From then on I favoured books with beige covers.”
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Why a blog?

Because sometimes the world moves too fast for books.

Because it feels good to be part of the conversation.

As I wrote Gutenberg’s Fingerprint, I thought a lot about books, what they are, what they mean, why I love them, how they are changing and how they are becoming what they started out to be. The brain doesn’t turn off when an editor says “Stop!” so in Books UnPacked, these thoughts spool on, exploring the past and future of books, and the actual books I’m unwrapping to read.

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