Archive for May 27th, 2010

Hornby’s Case for Contemporary Fiction

May 27, 2010 @ 7:36 am | Filed under:

“The received wisdom is that novels too much of the moment won’t last: but what else do we have that delves so deeply into what we were thinking and feeling at any given period? In fifty or one hundred years’ times, we are, I suspect, unlikely to want to know what someone writing in 2010 had to say about the American Civil War. I don’t want to put you off, if you’re just writing the last paragraph of a seven-hundred-page epic about Gettysburg—I’m sure you’ll win loads of prizes and so on. But after that, you’ve had it.”

—excerpt from Nick Hornby’s “Stuff I’m Reading” column in the May 2010 issue of The Believer, which you can begin reading here but have to track down a hard copy to finish.


Delicious Links for May 27, 2010

May 27, 2010 @ 5:32 am | Filed under:

After keeping us waiting for a century, Mark Twain will finally reveal all—The Independent

“…in November the University of California, Berkeley, where the manuscript is in a vault, will release the first volume of Mark Twain’s autobiography. The eventual trilogy will run to half a million words, and shed new light on the quintessentially American novelist.”

Douglas Adams: How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet (1999)

“Because the Internet is so new we still don’t really understand what it is. We mistake it for a type of publishing or broadcasting, because that’s what we’re used to. So people complain that there’s a lot of rubbish online, or that it’s dominated by Americans, or that you can’t necessarily trust what you read on the web. Imagine trying to apply any of those criticisms to what you hear on the telephone. Of course you can’t ‘trust’ what people tell you on the web anymore than you can ‘trust’ what people tell you on megaphones, postcards or in restaurants. Working out the social politics of who you can trust and why is, quite literally, what a very large part of our brain has evolved to do. For some batty reason we turn off this natural scepticism when we see things in any medium which require a lot of work or resources to work in, or in which we can’t easily answer back – like newspapers, television or granite. Hence ‘carved in stone.’ What should concern us is not that we can’t take what we read on the internet on trust – of course you can’t, it’s just people talking – but that we ever got into the dangerous habit of believing what we read in the newspapers or saw on the TV – a mistake that no one who has met an actual journalist would ever make. One of the most important things you learn from the internet is that there is no ‘them’ out there. It’s just an awful lot of ‘us’.”

Reading Rockets: Three ways to ruin a good book