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What kind of reader are you? A book abandoner? The bookophile? The Atlantic has a diagnostic guide. Blogger Jen Doll quotes New Yorker writer Mark O’Connell, who confesses to his own reading habits. “’ll be reading a novel and thoroughly enjoying it. Then I’ll be in a bookshop and I’ll see something I’ve been anticipating,…

What Kind of Reader Are You?

What kind of reader are you? A book abandoner? The bookophile? The Atlantic has a diagnostic guide.

Blogger Jen Doll quotes New Yorker writer Mark O’Connell, who confesses to his own reading habits. “’ll be reading a novel and thoroughly enjoying it. Then I’ll be in a bookshop and I’ll see something I’ve been anticipating, and I’ll buy it. I’ll start reading the new book on the bus home that evening, and that will be the end of the original affair. I’m certainly invested in the relationship with the book that I’m currently reading, but I can’t help myself from pursuing whatever new interest happens to turn my head. Perhaps that’s just a tortuous way of admitting to being a pathetic serial book-adulterer who’ll chase after anything in a dust jacket.”

Posted by Joel on August 29 2012 • Books

Falling Confidence in the Press

Jay Rosen asks, “What explains falling confidence in the press?" In the period before Woodward and Berstein, 70 percent of Americans had a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in the news media. Today it’s 44 percent. Why?

“What makes it a puzzle is that during that same period, several other things were happening,” writes Rosen. “Journalists were becoming better educated. They were more likely to go to journalism school, my institution. During this period, the cultural cachet of being a journalist was on the rise. Newsrooms were getting bigger, too: more boots on the ground to cover the news. Journalism was becoming less of a trade and more of a profession.”


Posted by Joel on August 11 2012 • Journalism

25 Books that Shaped America

In conjunction with its Celebration of the Book, the Library of Congress has opened an exhibit of the most influential books in American history. They aren’t the best, per se, but they are those that made a lasting impact on our culture. From their press release: “"This list of ‘Books That Shaped America’ is a starting point. It is not a register of the ‘best’ American books--although many of them fit that description. Rather, the list is intended to spark a national conversation on books written by Americans that have influenced our lives, whether they appear on this initial list or not,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “We hope people will view the list and then nominate other titles. Finally, we hope people will choose to read and discuss some of the books on this list, reflecting our nation’s unique and extraordinary literary heritage, which the Library of Congress makes available to the world.

“Curators and experts from throughout the Library of Congress contributed their choices for “Books That Shaped America,” but there was much debate in having to cut worthy titles from a much larger list in order to accommodate the physical restrictions of the exhibition space. Some of the titles on display have been the source of great controversy, even derision, in U.S. history. Nevertheless, they shaped Americans’ views of their world and the world’s views of America.”

View the list, and also vote for those you believe were most influential.

Posted by Joel on August 11 2012 • Books

A Week's Worth of Reading

New experiments show how much we’ve come to rely on the Internet to know things. From Big Think: The Internet as Hive Mind.

“When we’re faced with hard questions, we don’t search our minds—we first think of the Web.”

From NPR. Noted author Larry McMurtry has become just as noted for being a used bookseller. But he is giving it all up and selling his collection of more than a half-million books. The Last Book Sale.

“His store, Booked Up, spills across four buildings in his small hometown of Archer City, Texas, and houses nearly half a million rare and used books. But starting this Friday, McMurtry is holding an auction to whittle down that number — by a lot.”

Robert Hughes died this week. I just finished his latest book, Rome, which I would highly recommend. Hughes made a name for himself with his series about modern art: The Shock of the New.

James Salter writes about the personal library in his New Yorker review of Jacques Bonnet’s “Phantoms on the Bookshelves."

“Under the pretense of writing about this library—its origins, contents, and organization—he has written instead this often witty tribute to and perhaps requiem for a life built around reading that summons up all the magical and seductive power of books.”

Posted by Joel on August 09 2012 • Current Affairs