Friday, January 23, 2009

From the World of Books

Let us flip through the pages (erm, click through the sites) of cyberspace and find out what is happening in the world of books.

1. Have blogs been good for books?

Pratham Books jumped on to the blogging bandwagon in 2008. Through our blog, we have been able to share some of our books, receive feedback, get opinions on new ideas and do several other things. Like our blog, there have been several others that have mushroomed rapidly across cyberspace. Robert McCrum presents his views on the effect of this phenomenon:
I've read somewhere that, across the world, there are about 175,000 new blogs launched every day. That's two new blogs a second, a truly awesome statistic from the global IT revolution of our times. Since I joined The Observer as literary editor in 1996, the world of print seems to have been in continuous transition.

People - readers - complain about change, but I like it. Change is good, and change has served global literature well, on balance. The world of books is in better shape than for a very long time.
What's not in doubt is that it's a huge democratic moment: more people than ever before are being able to share their ideas and feelings with a global audience, and to engage in a vivid contemporary dialogue about the meaning of culture, in books, film, music, theatre and art.
How bad can that be?
2. In other news, read about "The Triumph of the Readers".
According to a recent report from the National Endowment for the Arts, our Nashville library is bearing out a national trend. For the first time in more than 25 years, the number of people reading fiction is on the rise.
In these new and improved numbers of readers given to us by the NEA, the most heartening rise is in the 18-to-24-year-old group, the ones who seem to have been born with iPod buds stuck in their ears. They've recently taken the biggest bump up in readership after years of the most significant decline. But doesn't it make sense? This is the first crop of newly minted adults who were raised up on Harry Potter novels. They came of age attending midnight release parties at their local bookstores and then faking mysterious illnesses the next day for the absolute necessity of staying in bed to read.

I am a firm believer in the fact that it isn't so much what you read, it's that you read. Reading fiction not only develops our imagination and creativity, it gives us the skills to be alone. It gives us the ability to feel empathy for people we've never met, living lives we couldn't possibly experience for ourselves, because the book puts us inside the character's skin.
Read the entire article here.

3. On a lighter note, compete in the literary Olympics.

4. And some trivia on lost manuscripts
Bestselling thriller writer Robert Ludlum wrote his first novel - "a literary effort", as he called it - while a young man in the US marines. He lost the manuscript after a long drinking session while on leave in San Francisco. When he returned to writing fiction in the 1970s he was cured of literary pretensions.
Have a great weekend!

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