Yeah, but…I like books, you know? I like the feel of the paper, the…paperyness of it. The white creases in the spine showing where the book slowed enough for someone to fan it out on a table or chair. I like how new hardbacks creak when you open them. I love bending open that first page, turning it from anyone’s … Read More
In February 1908, Amalgamated Press of London started printing an extraordinary series of books. Released in fortnightly parts, the Children’s Encyclopedia aimed not to cross-reference but to teach. Its 760+ articles aimed to give its pre-school readers a thorough grounding in those subjects its authors considered to be the building-blocks of middle-class culture, including history, the natural sciences, industry, mathematics, … Read More
Seven books that wired my brain differently and made me smarter.
Time – 00:00 Here is Mike, sat at a table. Mike is a bespectacled, somewhat vague and dishevelled looking man of indeterminate age . He’s in front of his laptop – and frankly, they both look like they’ve seen better years. From the half-open doorway comes a shout. “This thing is amazing.”
First the snark…then the rant. If I start to go blue, call someone. Thanks. It’s true what they say. We’re beyond all help – living the wrong lives, governed by the wrong rules and surrounded by the wrong people. All our achievements are meaningless because they got us here, mired up to the neck in the sucking dreadfulness of modern … Read More
If you were traversing Terminal 5 at London’s Heathrow last August, you may have seen a writerly-looking chap sat tapping on a computer, his words being displayed on a large plasma screen over his head. This was the temporary Writer In Residence, Alain de Botton, and he was writing a book about what airports really are.
It’s recently struck me that Reader’s Digest, one of the most popular magazines in the world, is a paper-based blog. Staunchly populist – and conservative and anti-communist, depending on the era – the magazine has been publishing condensed news stories and adverts in a visually arresting fashion since 1922. It’s uncluttered, breezy and the kind of thing you’d read when … Read More
To think: 600,000 words in the English language, and I need a new one. The word that almost defines what I need it to mean, but falls unacceptably short, is “heartwarming“. That’s a word that belongs with other artistic damnations such as “family viewing” and “A Michael Bay film”. If something is “heartwarming”, it’s so heavily sugared that your teeth … Read More