Thursday, June 07, 2007

Reeling, Writhing and Fainting in Coils, or is the book here to stay?

At Book Expo this year, Google and Microsoft talked again about putting books out on the Net. A group of University libraries have agreed to digitize their collections. And Barbara's post talked about the Kansas City man who burned his books because no one wanted to read them. Oy, veh. Is the book going the way of the LP/CD? Are authors--or Content Providers, as Simon & Schuster calls us--going the way of the woolly mammoth and the dear dodo? What will people like me, old, grey and without a working knowledge of New Media, do to keep from eating dog food in the alley if we can't earn a living from our creative work?

And how much is anyone reading any more? I am embarrassed to say that I don't read as much as I used to. I am putting myself on a "book-gain" diet this summer: I'm reading the Brothers K, Joan Smith's new novel, the Madonnas of Leningrad, and revisited Allingham's Traitor's Purse, but it's been a long time since I sat with a book, so engrossed I didn't want to do anything else but read, so until I get back to that frame, I can't much bemoan a country that prizes American Idol over an American Tragedy .

What about you? Are you reading these days? As much as you used to? And what book has kept you reading while the clock struck midnight unnoticed?

Sara Paretsky



by Sara Paretsky

Links:
American Idol, Brothers Karamazov, the end of the book, aging

18 comments:

Jean Sheldon said...

It still hurts when I don't read, I think that's a good sign. Happy 60th Sara, I'm not far behind.

Libby Hellmann said...

Happy Birthday, Sara! I only wish I could accomplish half of what you have by the time I turn 60.. and since it's only a few years away, there's no chance. So enjoy! You've earned a lazy summer of reading...

Jude Hardin said...

Happy birthday!!!

I read an ARC of The Madonnas of Leningrad about a year ago. I think you'll enjoy it.

I've been reading some old stuff and some new lately. Always reading something (even if it's just the back of a Cheerios box).

Have a great summer!

Marcus Sakey said...

Happy birthday, Sara! Stay outta the lake--the world is better with you in it. ;)

Rob in Denver said...

Happy birthday. (It's my birthday, too. Really.)

And, yes, I'm always reading. Finishing THE MALTESE FALCON for the third or fourth time.

The Home Office said...

I probably read as much or more than I ever did, except for a one-year period about five years ago when I was laid off. I was reading about three books a week then; my local librarians thought I was stalking them.

I started keeping track of everything I read in 2006. Last year I read 64 books; this year I'm on pace for 78. Not bad for someone with a full-time job who tries to write every day.

I find I started to read more when I got serious about writing. I read differently now, and enjoy it more. At least the good things.

Happy birthday, Sara. We're all looking forward to you providing product for a long time yet.

Barbara D'Amato said...

Happy birthday, Sara!

Kevin Guilfoile said...

Happy Birthday Sara!

Claire said...

Happy birthday!

I've almost always have a book on me. Who wants to read a novel on their computer? I'm getting more myopic sitting at the damned thing all day as it is.

Bob said...

I'm still reading books as much as ever and ENJOYING it. That said, I'm reading a lot more stuff online from Salon to Huffington Post. I get my news from the internets and NPR (WBEZ).

I count on book reviews to help me discover new authors. I found this site thanks to an Entertainment Weekly review of Marcus Sakey's The Blade Itself. Which I read and enjoyed. I'll be looking forward to his new one.

I can't imagine reading a novel on my terminal - or those little table t readers I've seen at Border's

BC said...

I find myself reading more and more than I ever have. Maybe it's an act of rebellion. I still read newspapers, too, though. I hope we're not a dying breed. I'm only 34.

Sean Chercover said...

Happy Birthday, Sara! And happy reading, this summer.

I'm always reading, but I sometimes get distracted by all the political noise. Then I chastise myself, shut down my browser and pick up a book.

Reading books on my computer screen? No thanks. If that's the future, I'm not going.

Sara N Paretsky said...

Rob, Happy Birthday. Thanks to everyone for your birthday wishes--I'm embarrassed now I put it on the site, so I took it off--but I'm grateful for all the good wishes.
Sean, great suggestion. Shut down the browser--Im going to do that in 30 seconds and go back to the Brothers K! BC, good to know that a younger reader is still at the newspapers. I couldn't live without the sports and comics pages. And thanks, everyone, for the inspiration to keep reading.

Twist Phelan said...

Happy birthday, Sara! At the Edgars, Stephen King said he writes four hours in the morning and reads four hours in the afternoon. I have a daily word count for writing; now have a page count for reading. Usually exceeded, but it reminds me it is something to do--and do substantially--every day. I also listen to a lot of books on my nano: driving, at the gym, standing in line, walking the grocery aisles.

T

P.S. Third down on my TBR pile? Writing in an Age of Silence. Hope your next one doesn't have to be called Writing in an Age of Non-Reading.

Jean Sheldon said...

A recent article online talked about the first generation of kids learning without books. Their lessons and tests are on computers, they even communicate with each other by sending shorthand text message, some that don’t have any words at all, only letters and symbols. Maybe writer’s have a responsibility to effect change in this trend. I don’t know who else will. The whole ‘dumbing down’ of America is frightening, but as with most issues these days, too complex to know where to begin. Are there enough writers around that if each one made just ten kids appreciate the wonder of books it would make a difference? And how would they go about doing that?

Maryann Mercer said...

Happy birthday from me too! As for reading, I can't imagine ever stopping. Too many good books, too many great authors. I splurged again this weekend at B&N!
I just finished Anne Perry's World War I series and hated to see it end. For a non-stop read, I have to say the last was Harlen Coben's The Woods. I did the latest Lee Child in two days. I agree with Sean...I'm not going anywhere I can't put my hands on a dust jacket or paperback :o)

Carolyn said...

I read books every day, mostly fiction, and can't live without it. The latest couldn't-put-down was "Eminence" by Morris West.

RP said...

Oh, I read all the time, albeit a little less in the spring when I'm glorying in the weather and gardening. I probably finish 3-4 books a week on average. Thank goodness for the El - that's 40 minutes of quiet reading time that I wouldn't get if I drove to work.