* Mark Sarvas appeared in Seattle, as announced, and… no one showed up except yours truly. Way to go. The good news, however, is that the Seattle Times interviewed him. Alas, the interview leads with a reference to a hatchet job in the New York Times, which I won’t deign to link to here. A snippet of the interview:
Q: I worry that the kind of reading, that trancelike state you achieve when you get deep into a book, is going away in favor of a different kind of reading on the Internet. And what do you think is going to happen with book reviews? Will they eventually migrate to the Net, and how will that affect them?
A: There are different kinds of reading. The kind you do on a couch with a book is different from what you do with your blog.
I share your troubled view of the future — but I think it has absolutely nothing to do with the Internet. This is not just about book reviews; it’s about classical music, architecture, movie reviews.
It’s not a crisis in book reviewing; it’s the fact that we live in an age that I find distressingly incurious — interested in material pursuits, unreflective, narcissistic, shallow. An age when the thing that’s on everyone’s mind is … “Did you see ‘American Idol’ last night?”
It’s nothing to do with the Internet or the loss of newspapers. It’s a much wider critical moment, one that I leave to the cultural anthropologists to figure out.
* James Wood further illuminates what he values and what he doesn’t in fiction while simultaneously (and justifiably!) criticizing bloggers for their too-frequent rush to judgment. If you leave this blog to read it and don’t come back because you’ve spent too much time meditating on what he’s said, I won’t blame you. I’ve got a response rumbling in me, but it’s not ready for publication.
(Hat tip TEV.)
* From Anecdotal Evidence, more preaching to the choir. Granted, I agree with the post, but I’m guessing that the people who should most read it won’t, much like the protests at the NBCC and elsewhere regarding the cutbacks in book reviewing, or those endless damning reports about how we don’t, as a society, read much.
(Hat tip Books, Inq.)
* This video isn’t book-related, but watch it anyway.