[I]t is neither sentimentality nor snobbery to insist that what we mean by the experience of reading may be singularly indebted to the printed book, to its physicality and its temporality.Oh, please.
The breathless, Bezos-loving man from Newsweek says that he is reading Boswell's Life of Johnson on his iPhone. No, he isn't. All reading is not the same. It takes more than the apparition of words to constitute a book and its inner forms.No, you're not a snob. Oh, no, no, no.
Bleak House is not e-mail (even if it once was serialized) and Atonement does not deliver information. "Search" is not the most exciting demand that one can make of a text. So let us see how many conversions to literacy's pleasures these gadgets make, and let us be grateful for them; but let us also recognize that we toy with the obsolescence of the book at our mental peril.And we read a TNR editorial at our peril. Hey, it's a dangerous world.
The scanting of the prestige of books by the print media is a different matter.The scanting of the prestige.... Could you possibly sound a little more desperate to display your erudition?
It is a kind of betrayal from within. In recent years, in-house book reviewing has been eliminated, abridged, or downgraded by the Atlanta Journal- Constitution, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Cleveland's Plain Dealer, The San Diego Union-Tribune--the list goes on. The same cannot be said about management's enthusiasm for, say, sports, or food. "Committing resources" is not least a philosophical exercise: A newspaper discloses its view of the world clearly by what it chooses to cover and not to cover, and with what degree of rigor and pride. When you deprive the coverage of books of adequate space and talent, you are declaring that books are not important, even if you and your wife belong to a book club and your Amazon account is a mile long.You and your wife? All right, you were already pissing me off with your pretentious locutions, rank nostalgia, and over-the-top snootiness, but now I have to completely redirect my anger. How dare you write you and your wife? Here I am, reading your magazine, thinking you are trying to talk to me, and I run into that phrase you and your wife. You assume your reader is a man (and a straight man at that). I love when a pompous know-it-all falls flat on his — yes, I assume you're a man — face. Was it something about writing like a twit from the 19th century that made you forget that women expect to be treated as equals?
ADDED: "Bleak House is not e-mail (even if it once was serialized)...." Shouldn't the editors have stopped and thought a little more when they realized that parenthetical was needed? Here they are, fulminating about the wonders of a great novel, remembering how they felt decades ago when they read through thick paperback versions of the great Victorian novels and thinking this — my experience! — is the way it should be, and then they realized that the Victorians were reading these novels in bits in the newspaper!
[Charles Dickens] was the first to transform serial suspense into a large-scale social event. In the mid-1800s, it was the fate of a fictitious legal case — Jarndyce v. Jarndyce that had everyone so engaged...Wouldn't Charles Dickens be laughing at you — with your reactionary twaddle and your meager profits?
What Dickens had in common with such successors as Aaron Spelling (Dynasty, 90210), Steven Bochco (Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue), Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Apprentice), and Stephen King (online serial The Plant), was a new wave of technology to ride, a huge potential audience to tap, the temperament to exploit the opportunity, and a business model to drive it....
[M]any who might never have read did read, and the audience for substantial literature grew. On the business side, writing fiction became a truly viable profession because profits increased....