Remainders

  • Mark Edmundson agrees with the general wisdom that reading promotes democracy, but not because it informs the citizenry or promotes knowledge. (He argues that radio, film and word of mouth can accomplish those ends as well as books can.) Edmundson believes the most obsessed readers are people for whom the “process of socialization doesn’t quite work. The values they acquire from all the well-meaning authorities don’t fit them,” so they “they read to remake themselves.”
  • The interim director of Columbia University’s Teachers College library says that the Internet has not supplanted the library. But while digital and print materials will coexist, he thinks the function of the library has shifted from a warehouse for books to an “intellectual gathering place.”
  • Related: Sam Tanenhaus has replied to Mark Sarvas’ concerns about waning fiction coverage in the Book Review.
  • The BBC asks, “Could it be that your choice of summer book has less to do with what you would like to be reading and more to do with what the industry wants to see in your lap?”

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