TT: "Thus I turn my back"
1 day ago
Dear Mrs. Morrison, someone sent me a copy of "The Black Book." And if at all possible, I would like to have two more. I need one copy to give to a friend, another to throw against the wall over and over and over. The one I already own I want to hold in my arms against my heart.
"Oxfam is the largest retailer of second-hand books in Europe, selling around 11 million books every year. Most of the 700+ Oxfam shops around the UK sell books, and more than 130 shops are specialist bookshops or book and music shops."
Books are donated direct to shops by the public, or through more than 700 Oxfam book and music banks in convenient locations around the country.
I pit its speech against infinite silence-
And a notion of eternity floats to mind,
And the dead seasons, and the season
Beating here and now, and the sound of it. So,
In this immensity my thoughts all drown;
And it's easeful to be wrecked in seas like these.
-from The Infinitive by Giacomo Leopardi. Translation by Eamon Grennan.
When I close my eyes, I see those massive animals swimming in and out of my vision, into the blue-black below; the same creatures that came to obsess Melville's ambiguous narrator, 'and in the wild conceits that swayed me to my purpose, two and two there floated into my inmost soul, endless processions of the whale'. On my own uncertain journey, I sought to discover why I too felt haunted by the whale, by the forlorn expression on the beluga's face, by the orca's impotent fin, by the insistent images in my head. Like Ishmael, I was drawn back to the sea; wary of what lay below, yet forever intrigued by it, too.
-from The Whale
He did not despise the new, but used it wholeheartedly; he did not reject the old social institutions, but found new ways to adapt them, and when thwarted one way, found another, odder but still functional, way to use them; and he did not tarry to prophesy a new age of learning and wisdom. Most of all, he did things. The larger scheme within which he did them was not widely imitated, nor was it imitable. Even to say this is to reveal waht is so often wrong about our expectations of ourselves and our cultural heroes: we dream of strong leaders, men on white horses, people who change history. Those are the fools and the demons of our past. The most effective change is that wielded by those who do not expect to create or manipulate a closed system, but those who do recognize that change takes place in an open system, in one where it is the accumulation of shrewd and collaborative actions of the many that generates the unexpected harmony.
-from Trithemius, McLuhan, Cassiodorus by James J. O'Donnell.
With a higher price for both the tablet and the books, you wouldn't expect this new model to pose much of a challenge to Amazon's dominance in digital books. But then over the weekend, Macmillan told Amazon that if it didn't agree to the same terms it had hammered out with Apple, Amazon would no longer have access to new books from the publishing house until several months after they were released through bookstores and Apple. Amazon's initial response was to prevent users from buying Macmillan books on its Web site. By late Sunday, however, Amazon had raised the white flag and announced that it would go along with the new arrangement. Other publishers are now expected to follow Macmillan's lead.
And pulseless and cold, with a Derringer by his side and a bullet in his heart, though still calm as in life, beneath the snow lay he who was at once the strongest and yet the weakest of the outcasts of Poker Flat.
-from "The Outcasts Of Poker Flat" by Bret Harte
"A dog on a leash is in possession of something very precious nowadays - a Master."
"A collar is just like a briefcase, the dog quipped mentally and, wagging his behind, proceeded with a lordly air to the second floor."
If they're so flawed, why then are these books so popular? The answer lies in the careless habits of readers. Neither book requires much work. With Holden Caulfield, one need not think, only indulge the first salient feeling that floats up from the page. With Zinn's impression of history, one need not think much, only so far as a naÏve condemnation of all power.
These are not very useful prescriptions for serious learning. While they do alert readers to the need for criticism, they provide few lessons and too few tools for moving it forward.