“Football is more popular, basketball is more marketable, hockey is more exciting, soccer means more throughout the world. But baseball has a way of making you think about everything that ever happened to you, every conversation you ever had, every place you ever lived, everything.”—
“I still love books. Nothing a computer can do can compare to a book. You can’t really put a book on the Internet. Three companies have offered to put books by me on the Net, and I said, ‘If you can make something that has a nice jacket, nice paper with that nice smell, then we’ll talk.’ All the computer can give you is a manuscript. People don’t want to read manuscripts. They want to read books. Books smell good. They look good. You can press it to your bosom. You can carry it in your pocket.”—Ray Bradbury (via fivetwofivetwo)
with buying my own books. As in, I didn’t want to just rent them from the library, I wanted to go down to Barnes and Noble or Borders (RIP) and buy that sucker. it would usually end up being $20 per book, unless it was paperback, and maybe $15 then.
On Wednesday, April 18, Harvard Library Strategic Conversations will sponsor an Oxford-style debate on the role of libraries. The program will be held from 3 to 4:30pm in Piper Auditorium, at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, with a reception to follow.
“I love printed books but other than our sentimentality, why do we have them? Beauty, accessibility to the less fortunate, endurance throughout time. All good reasons. Let’s put those forward and stop being saps about how books smell and feel. Books are vehicles for storytelling, not house pets.”—
There is one - and as far as I can tell, only one - useful aspect of the “smell of the book” argument for printed material. That is, I can immediately discount anything else that person has to say on the subject of books, printed or otherwise.
This quote accurately captures some of the legitimate pro-print arguments. Let’s have the conversation start there.
I’m a single gal. Sure, I’d like to be in a relationship with a person to hang with all the time, but I have yet to find someone with complimentary idiosyncrasies to mine. That being said, I sure as HELL don’t let my singleness (and frequent lone-wolfness) affect my own enjoyment of life like a good meal in a good restaurant.
I dine out alone ALL the time. It’s probably why I’m so consistently broke. I take a book or my cell phone, and I entertain myself or I talk to the bartender. I really like eating at bars.
In “Distant View of a Minaret,” the late and much-neglected Egyptian writer Alifa Rifaat begins her short story with a woman so unmoved by sex with her husband that as he focuses solely on his pleasure, she notices a spider web she must sweep off the ceiling and has time to ruminate on her husband’s repeated refusal to prolong intercourse until she too climaxes, “as though purposely to deprive her.” Just as her husband denies her an orgasm, the call to prayer interrupts his, and the man leaves. After washing up, she loses herself in prayer — so much more satisfying that she can’t wait until the next prayer — and looks out onto the street from her balcony. She interrupts her reverie to make coffee dutifully for her husband to drink after his nap. Taking it to their bedroom to pour it in front of him as he prefers, she notices he is dead. She instructs their son to go and get a doctor. “She returned to the living room and poured out the coffee for herself. She was surprised at how calm she was,” Rifaat writes.
Yes: They hate us. It must be said.
In a crisp three-and-a-half pages, Rifaat lays out a trifecta of sex, death, and religion, a bulldozer that crushes denial and defensiveness to get at the pulsating heart of misogyny in the Middle East. There is no sugarcoating it. They don’t hate us because of our freedoms, as the tired, post-9/11 American cliché had it. We have no freedoms because they hate us, as this Arab woman so powerfully says.