Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Daily Thoughts 9/2/2009

Harvard University's Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library.
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Daily Thoughts 9/2/2009

I have started reading The Case For Books Past, Present, and Future by Robert Darnton who is the head of the Harvard University libraries. This book is a collection of essays many of them originally published in the New York Review of Books. The book opens with a section entitled Google and the History of Books. Harvard University is part of the Google digitization project for books. The form I am reading the book in is that of an egalley from Netgalley. The book is already quite interesting. The first section after the introduction is Google and The Future of Books.

I picked up two more books to read. The first is Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon. It is a mystery with fantasy elements in it. For some reason it is on the Locus Magazine science fiction bestseller list. I think it is because of the author. The other book which I picked up to read is Knight of Knives A Novel of the Malazan Empire by Ian C. Esslement. This book is a standalone book that is related to a long running epic fantasy series.

Today has been a solid day. I did some weeding in the 800s, updated the graphic novels display, made sure the books in the "New Arrivals" were still new and did some ordering. We are getting a lot of requests on our purchase alerts for urban fiction and romance books. I picked out two biography books for the large print section. Biographies are very popular at the book mobile.

On the train home, I read some of Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon. This book is going to create strong reactions against and for it. On the one hand it is sordid, full of drug references, and disorientingly psychedelic at times. On the other hand it has a beat style with riffs of flowing sentences, interesting dialogue, and wildly eccentric characters. At the same time it is a novel of the 1960s it is also a detective novel. I have never read anything like this. The book is quite strange.

The book can be utterly fascinating at some times and completely disorienting at times. Doc, the main character is a detective who is perpetually stoned and sorts of drifts through the novel creating atmosphere. The atmosphere is the dark side of the hippie era where all the nastiness happens. Some people will love it, others will hate it.

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