Sunday, April 08, 2007

After browsing at Borders

Having nothing to do on this God-forsaken day, I wandered into Borders. It is not a bookstore of which I approve. It is not really a bookstore at all; it is more of a vast reading library which keeps really long hours and gives you the option of buying books and magazines if you want to take them home. Of course, it should not be open today, because we should be in Church, but Borders has no borders.

Anyway, it was an opportunity to make observations about the state of the publishing industry. I thought these things might be clues:

1. Books have been published from contributions to Postsecret and Engrish. What is the point? These books cost money and, although it does not say so on their covers, are not updated regularly. Who are they for - people who do not use Internet for recreational purposes at work; people who have never found any interesting sites and use Internet just for banking and bus timetables; people who don't like computers? At least these books give those of us who have been visiting these sites for years the satisfaction of knowing that we were ahead of the curve.

2. The Second World War will never end, although it is now being fought by historians and veterans.

3. You can judge a book by its cover. Books with embossed lettering on their covers are very bad books. This is helpful for blind customers buying books for their sighted friends. Novels with pink covers are written for women. Men don't read.

4. About sixty per cent of new books are set in Tuscany. They are either: anecdotes of over-stressed advertising executives who gave it all up for the simple life among comical and colourful peasants; or: novels written by the same over-stressed advertising executives about their thinly-veiled autobiographical selves.

5. It is a shame that so many people have a novel inside them. It is usually a very bad novel.

6. The political is the personal. Every politician of note has to write a book; it always explains the politician's politics in terms of his or her "personal journey."

7. John Grisham wants to be Harper Lee, over and over again.

I could go on. Instead here is a song about 19th Century English literature by the Jefferson Airplane, which I post here to remind us all how unutterably gorgeous Grace Slick once was.


Anonymous said...

perhaps you should have bought yourself a bible - after all its probably about the least god forsaken day you could have - easter sunday..

Paul said...

But which one would I buy? There are so many different versions: the Catholic one has more books than the Protestant versions, so I guess it is better value; the Samaritans have only five chapters in their Bible, so it is brief and to the point; the KJV is the best literature IMHO, but it is difficult to imagine that God would have waited sixteen hundred years before She allowed the correct Bible to be published.

harvestbird said...

Whenever I go to Borders I remember a recentish episode of the Simpsons, in which Bart taunts the literature PhDs working behind the desk by describing fake job opportunities.

There was a feature on Grace Slick as she is now (selling art and I think jewellery in the mall near where she lives) that appeared in The Press a while back--was that featured elsewhere? I clipped it for my office mate, for whom Slick is pretty much the Platonic ideal of (ahem) femininity.

Paul said...

Yes, unfortunately for us all, she does art

Lyndon said...

I have the postsecret book. I like it pretty good, and I don't think that's just because of low broadband penetration.

As books go, it's a nice book.

Anonymous said...

"It is a shame that so many people have a novel inside them. It is usually a very bad novel."

ahahaha stop it Paul are putting all those other little bloggers who pour their hearts out to shame. You please me so much I would like you to write a I can read that at work rather than surf the net

Hans Versluys said...

They may have a bad book in them but it usually comes out as a bad blog these days. I'm not sure which is worse, time-wasting-wise.