Thursday, October 14, 2004

pardon the delay

There's nothing like a book fair to take the vinegar out of me. The Autumn New York Antiquarian Fair was this past weekend, and between preparations, the fair itself and a required time to deal with the necessarily ensuing depression, I've missed opportunities to post on the Nobel Prize, Jacques Derrida's passing, the National Book Awards nominees and the fair itself. Also missed John Banville's review of Jose Saramago's 'The Double' in the NYTBR, which itself should have been cause for at least two posts, being that they are two of my favorite living writers. Methinks it better to move on and not look back.

The book fair itself was a rather grey affair, which has been all to frequently the case of late. The customers are pretty much the same faces we always see, the flurry of dealer buying and selling which used to precede the shows (and which, for some dealers, made up the bulk of their sales) has given way as a dearth of sales leads to a lack of desire for new stock. There are many, many reasons for the decline in the market for most rare books, and sometime soon I'll tackle that question here, but for the time being let's just blame the internet, a declining level of literacy, price inflation in some segments of the market, a treasure hunt mentality of the general populace fed by eBay and the Antiques Roadshow, and once again, the internet.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Nobel speculation

The Times' Alan Riding mulls over some possible contenders for this years Nobel Prize in literature. Some names include Philip Roth, Milan Kundera, Margaret Atwood and Mario Vargas Llosa, who have been on the short list for a while, as well as Doris Lessing, Joyce Carol Oates and Assia Djebar, who are possible contenders because of a perceived interest in more representation for women.

In contrast to the expectation and excitement which can be found in the British media surrounding the Booker Prize, the Times wonders if the Nobel really means anything as many winners (especially recent ones) remain in obscurity. Shouldn't the blame be laid at the feet of the American publishers, who do a less than miserable job of bringing us the works of foreign authors?

Friday, October 01, 2004

is nothing sacred?

Madonna will be taking a degree in literature at Oxford?
Thanks to bookslut for the link.