Jonathan Swift imagined a battle of books in the night, volumes hurling themselves off the shelves to tear each other’s pages out. But what really happens when the lights are dimmed, when readers go home, when a library falls into disuse or is abandoned to human disaster?
Yet again I forgot to move my knife to my checked luggage. “But it’s a paper knife. For cutting open the pages of a book,” I explained to the security officer bent over my carry-on.
“I don’t care what you cut with it, m’am; you aren’t taking that knife on this plane.”
Over the course of a hundred nights, a hundred years ago, a dark figure heaved bag after heavy bag off the Hammersmith Bridge into the River Thames.
“If I don’t have it, I make it,” Hugh Barclay says, sawing a groove into the body of a letter A so he can insert a short sliver of lead to create an accented vowel. “What else is a person to do?”
Most of my day is spent in front of a computer screen. I read thousands of words between dawn and dusk. But when I say to my husband, “I’m going to read now,” he knows what I mean. I’m leaving him for a book.
Writing used to mean penmanship. Then it became a profession, a conveyor of stories and facts. It has always been a radical act.
2017 is the 40th anniversary of the personal computer and the 25th anniversary of the first ereader. A quarter century and millions of ebooks later, writers and readers, friends and pundits are still arguing over whether this is a good way to read books.
Every few months or so, LitBits offers bookish bits and pieces that inform, intrigue, provoke, and, I hope, delight. Stay up-to-date on news from the literary world and from my writing casita. Every issue I give away a book to a lucky subscriber. I hope you enjoy this first Litbits sample.
People often say that writing a book must be like having a baby, to which I respond, “I wish it only took nine months!” Writing
may not be like childbirth, but producing
a book is. The minute the physical object is in your hands, the hard parts are forgotten.
Dear Books Unpacked Readers,
Gutenberg’s Fingerprint: A Book Lover Bridges the Digital Divide will be released in April 2017. In anticipation, ECW Press is giving away 5 Advance reading Copies (ARCs) through a Goodreads Draw. If you’d like to enter the draw, click here:
And please—let me know your thoughts on some future BUB (oh dear, the unfortunate acronym for Books Unpacked Blog!)