September 12, 2011
Heads Will Scroll
One of my favorite YouTube videos spoofs what a medieval help desk would look like as monks sought to transition from the traditional technology of the scroll to the new technology of the codex. Keeping the debate alive between eBooks and pBooks is Lev Grossman in the New York Times. His observation? That eBooks are a step backward from pBooks.Continue reading "Heads Will Scroll"
September 1, 2011
Discovering the Gospel of Mark
For the last ten years I have lived with the Gospel of Mark—poring over its text, tracing down every Old Testament allusion, reading books, commentaries and journal articles, teaching the book in week-long intensive courses, letting its currents roll over me. All this is no accident, because I am the inheritor of a tradition.Continue reading "Discovering the Gospel of Mark"
September 22, 2010
It's the Smell I Remember
It’s the smell I remember.
When my older sister was in high school she got a summer job at the local bookstore in the center of our town. It was only about a mile from home, so I would sometimes walk or ride my bike there to visit her. I tried not to interrupt her professional duties too much. It was there that I first learned to browse.Continue reading "It's the Smell I Remember"
September 8, 2010
The Shallows 8: The Future of the Book
The book, as Nicholas Carr notes in The Shallows, has so far proven extraordinarily resistant to computers and the Net. While book sales and book reading have plateaued, this “long sequence of printed pages assembled between a pair of stiff covers has proven to be a remarkably robust technology for more than half a millennium” (p. 99). But what about now?Continue reading "The Shallows 8: The Future of the Book"
August 20, 2010
The Shallows 2: A Brief History of Reading
In Phaedrus, Socrates muses on the merits of writing. Surprisingly to our minds, he is skeptical. Why? It is a recipe for forgetfulness. We won’t have to exercise our memories anymore. Knowledge of a subject, after all, is much more valuable than a written account of the same thing. The only virtue of writing was as a guard against the forgetfulness of old age.
So Nicholas Carr, in The Shallows, introduces us to the first Luddite in his book on how the Internet changes our brains. (See part one of my review here.) In chapter four he offers a fascinating overview of the history of the written word and how each change created changes in us and in society.Continue reading "The Shallows 2: A Brief History of Reading"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 7:29 AM
July 29, 2010
Who Do Books Make Us?
Maybe I'm old fashioned. Maybe I'm out of style. Maybe I'm the hipster culture's worst nightmare. But I still think books make a difference.
David Brooks's piece in the New York Times cites another study that shows the power of print. When students take books home for the summer, the impact is as great as attending summer school--aligning with the 27-country study I mentioned here previously.
Brooks makes the interesting point though, that books not only improve our thinking or reading abilities, books make us into different people. They shape not only how we see the world but how we see ourselves. We gain an identity as a learner or science fiction fan or lover of history or maybe just as a reader.
Books help make us who we are. And I think that's a good thing.