Sunday, January 27, 2008

Garfunkel's a reader. Obama is a winner.

1.) Yesterday I got a message from my friend Nora regarding Art Garfunkel's online library. It turns out that Art has been keeping track of every book that he has read since 1968. He has the title, author, number of pages, and month he read it. Coincidentally, I have been doing the same thing for a little over a year now. Basically, I'm going to be the next Art Garfunkel (in a way...) If you are curious, you can check it out here:

Also regarding the state of the "book", Ursula Le Guin has an article in the latest Harper's titled "Staying Awake: Notes on the alleged decline of reading." Le Guin is a Portland-based author and basically explains that book publishing industry and capitalism do not make good partners. Besides textbooks, many people do not have reason to purchase books other than the fact that they enjoy them, and Le Guin argues that there have never been that many of us booklovers anyway. Publishers should stop trying to cram "best sellers" down our throats or declaring books "unsuccessful" if they don't make a certain amount of profit in a short period of time. Realistically, the "midlist" or books in print that continue to sell a bit each year are really what should be publishing houses' bread and butter. When talking about "the decline of reading", Le Guin cites the same NEA surveys that I referenced a month ago, but while I read the statistics and found them demoralizing, Le Guin says "Even during the "century of the book," when it was taken for granted that many people read and enjoyed fiction and poetry, how many people in fact could make much time for reading once they were out of school? During those years [1850-1950] most Americans worked hard and worked long hours. Weren't there always many who never read a book at all, and never very many who read a lot of books? We don't know how many, because we didn't have polls to worry us about it."

2.) Obama beat Hillary 55% to 27% in the South Carolina primary yesterday. Obama is my candidate so I'm obviously happy about that result but I also liked what the blogger Average Bro ( had to say about a black man actually having a real chance at the presidency. You can check out the latest post yourself, but what I got was that although blacks have becomes billionaires, headed companies, even been to the moon, the presidency is unique in the fact that it has to be "granted" has to be chosen/ can't just work harder to obtain that achievement. Obama also represents the ability to dream...really. Black fathers would finally be able to tell their sons honestly and realistically that they too could possibly become president one day...(although you probably still need an Ivy league education and a certain level of wealth...but at least skin color maybe wouldn't be the negating factor..)

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