August 16th, 2010

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mass and elbows

I am going to talk a little bit more about Super Sad True Love Story (I recommended it to a facebook friend) because things keep reminding me of the book, every day since I read it. The boy-girl love story in the book is nothing to write home about, if you ask me--no one ever does ask me these things--but the love, love, love of books story is a very sweet one.

In the book, Lenny Abramov has a romantic attachment to books, as do a whole bunch of us. chickenhat plaintively queried, "When WAS the last time you went to the library and got a stack of books to read?" and there were plenty of responses indicating that people love books. Not mere repositories of information, the physical presence of bound printed pages is important to us. A WP writer wonders, "As electronic readers gain popularity, what happens to the personal library?" in an article best summarized by this excerpt:

Electronic book readers are a great invention for people who actually read books. But what do they offer those of us who have an even more complicated relationship with books unread? Sitting on a shelf, Thomas Mann's "Magic Mountain" stares down as coldly and harshly as an alp in winter. Locked up in the digital ether of a Kindle or a Nook, it can never indict our miserable laziness.

There's a familiar resignation and a familiar resistance in Lenny's character. Subterranean Press has helpfully compiled Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 stories in a single volume, A Pleasure to Burn; I realized while reading it that Bradbury wrote and rewrote this love story many times.

Oh! And check out this bit from Long After Midnight:Collapse )

Super sad and true, right? I was very disappointed after hearing Mr. Bradbury speak once at a conference I was attending. He seemed so cranky! Now I know that I was too young and stupid to recognize that type of despair.