Belated bookish marginalia

I intended to post most of this over the weekend but, proving once again that sometimes procrastination is for the best, the first two items are from today.

  • Amazon announces its long-awaited Kindle, “a wireless, portable reading device with instant access to more than 90,000 books, blogs, magazines, and newspapers.” List price? $399.00. Me? I’ll stick with paper.  UPDATE: Check out Ed’s reasons he’s sticking with books.
  • The NEA’s new report on reading trends isn’t surprising: reading is declining and the younger you are, the less likely you are to read books. The latter is discouraging as the “number of books in a home is a significant predictor of academic achievement” just as reading for pleasure “correlates strongly with academic achievement.”
  • In light of that report maybe the television writer’s strike is good news. A Pepperdine University survey showed that “[w]hen asked about the prospect of reruns replacing new shows, 42% of the respondents said they would read more.”
  • So it appears death is good for a writer’s sales, particularly Kurt Vonnegut. But I have the same question about the story as Sam Houston. If “Vonnegut was the American Mark Twain,” what country is Mark Twain the Mark Twain of?
  • There was a slight CIA theme in the National Book Awards last week. One of the main characters in fiction winner Tree of Smoke is a CIA officer while the nonfiction winner was Tim Weiner’s Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA.

Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile.

Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

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