Friday, January 23, 2009

Moving

Thanks to everyone for the nice comments on my previous entry. It's been pretty thick this week, so I've not had time to post. But we're on the road back to Winedale today which will definitely help.

Larry McMurtry gave a talk on Wednesday at Rice and my spies tell me he was very pessimistic on the future for reading. His focus, of course, is books. He defines himself first and foremost as a "bookman". His comments stimulated a spirited discussion in my writers group. He was talking about the publishing industry and the rare book area, where many rare book dealers have contacted him over the past several years asking him to take over their store of books.

What do you all think?

It should be noted, of course, that Larry has written about his own depression following open heart surgery. And his last talk at Rice in the early 80's was seriously pessimistic about writers over the age of 40. So we're not dealing with Pollyanna here.

7 comments:

jinksy said...

Computers may push books into hiding, but to hold a volume between your hands that has a hundred years of living enfolded within it covers, is such a magical sensation. Are humans so crass they could abolish such joys for all time?'Let's hope not. Give me book over screen anytime.

Ralph W. said...

I agree with jinksy 100%. I blame the drop in reading to several things, the most important is the bashing of the media by the right. If your paper reports on something you do not want to hear, forget the fact that it is true, cancel your subscription and curse the media for being liberal. I suppose many liberals have done the same where the tables were turned. Next, you have so many people that are too lazy to think. They want thoughtless entertainment rather than something that might cause them to ponder any issue. They do not read. If parents do not read, their kids usually do not read. My parents were readers. All of us could read before we startd school because Mother told us that reading was like magic. Once you could read, all those black markings told a story. Wee couldn't wait to learn how to read.

PJ's talking2.... said...

I can't believe we'll ever be willing to give up the feel of a book in our hand. To turn the pages, and read. It's a special feeling, that nothing is going to replace. Maybe substitute sometimes, never replace.

Bdogs said...

I certainly feel that way, too. I've thought that one reason for the popularity of altered and handmade books may lie in this ancient pleasure of feeling the book in the hand. My concern centers on the economics of the industry that publishes and sells books, though. I think some very large shakeups are coming there. And it's because you don't have book readers in the mass like we used to. So much of a young person's leisure time is spent online, or texting, or listening or playing some other electronic device. Lots of ways to waste time these days...

sizzie said...

I think Larry McMurtry sees that a change is taking place...has already happened in many ways. That can be depressing. But, I believe that the book people who can afford to hang on will be more valuable instead of less. Right now things are shifting on the couch to make room for the new kid and that has thrown a little turmoil into the mix. But, it is a big couch, there is room for everyone. As with any industry, we look to the foundation to see how secure it is. And with book publishing that foundation is good writing. That didn't change with the Internet. But, I am pretty much a Pollyanna. : )

Cher said...

hmmm, I'm late to the discussion but I'm not blaming the readers. I'm blaming the writers. Readers line up at midnight when you write something they want to read. Build IT and they will come. Write IT and they will read. My grandparents didn't read, even though my father was a writer. My children all are readers. My one and only grandchild reads, but he's picky about it. Maybe we should be pickier writers.

The Texas Woman

Peggy said...

No readers = No writers. How tragic. :-(