Booze and Books, Troubled Libraries, and more Physical Book woes
I just can’t seem to comment enough on the ongoing physical book dilemma happening all over the world. Here are a few highlights from the past few weeks:
Booze and Books: British pubs to feature in-house libraries
Sadly I can’t find the link to this story, but a few weeks ago I read that a few pubs in England are experimenting with housing small libraries, or operating as a local book-share for the community. At first glance this might seem like a silly idea. Who bellies up to the bar with a pint and settles down for a cozy evening with Crime and Punishment? After all, pubs are thought of as social gathering spots; a place to chat with friends instead of reading by one’s lonesome. But after contemplating this idea for a while, a pub as stand-in library makes perfect sense. Think of all the cafés in Europe circa the Belle Époque and beyond, and the writers (Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Kafka, Ibsen and Keats, just to name a few) who sat there penning their greatest works with a glass (or 5) of wine in hand. Heck, J.K. Rowling reportedly wrote most of Harry Potter book 1 in a pub.
The café and pub scene would be an ideal place to discuss books, hold a book club, or stop by on your way home from work to unwind with a beer AND pick up a book for the evening. I applaud pub owners for at least thinking outside of the box. Serving books along beer not only draws clientele, but it promotes reading and keeps the physical book in circulation. We shall see how this will catch on in the future!
In troubled library land:
I knew I liked this guy: Stephen King supports his local library
Talk about giving back. Kudos to Stephen and Tabitha King for keeping a library alive and thriving.
And in other news, libraries are getting creative. I love this photo. Keep ’em coming.
What to do with your physical books? Organize them as a psychological profile:
I’m scared as to what my book profile might look like. Do all my books, if any, define me or just a select few?
If I take a glance right now at one shelf closest to me, without any rearranging- exactly as the shelf stands- this is what I see:
- Light in August William Faulkner
- Murder in Marais Cara Black
- A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire George R.R. Martin
- Kick Me Paul Feig
- Time and Again Jack Finney
- Elizabeth: The Struggle for the Throne David Starkey
- Restless William Boyd
- Hawaii Lonely Planet Guidebook
(Actually, this list does look a lot like me).
And lastly, I again lost the link but there is a debate out there claiming that we need to abandon “tough” fiction and that no one has the time anymore to read verbose literature.
If we don’t have time to read potentially long and dense fiction we probably don’t have time to read anything, period. Granted, everyone- including myself- enjoys a fast read now and again. But there are joys to be had in reading the long and artfully created novel. I’m currently reading The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, which gets heavy into botany and philosophical discussion at the half-way point. It’s thought provoking and yes, time-consuming stuff, but what else will I do with my time? I’m learning something here, and it’s enjoyable too. So why not devote some free time to opening my mind rather than turning on the TV? Book lovers are going to read the “hard” stuff (think Moby Dick and War and Peace) at some point and we may not even like it, but I don’t think this style of intense and deep literature should be abandoned just because we are now tangled in a social media and technology driven web.
That’s me on my soap-box for this week! Share your thoughts here.