Books in the Wild

There’s a joke amongst publishers that the second book off the Gutenberg press was about the death of the book. Now, in the face of the e-Onslaught predicted to overwhelm book collections, digitising them into an ethereal state, I’m potentially left with a living space that will require alternate interior design. This induces panic. With all that banging around my head (and many other book-heads) it’s refreshing and uplifting to see people reading actual books – you know, the ones made of paper. I’ll miss the joys of literary voyeurism on the bus, at cafés or sunny spots around the city when the digital demons banish books to Kindles and Nooks and Kobos (which all sound like Pokémon characters to me).

We’ve decided to honour the corporeal existence of books with occasional posts dedicated to books in the wild, those living in hands and bags and heads of people around campus. So here are some books we’ve seen around the campus lately.

The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan

Part II of the Wheel of Time series, in which Lots of Stuff happens. Then a Lot more Stuff happens in the following 12 books. Originally intended as a trilogy but surprised everyone by outlasting even the author – who died in 2007. Jordan left copious notes so Brandon Sanderson could finish the series.

Interesting Facts:

  • Jordan served two tours in the Vietnam War as a helicopter gunner.
  • Wrote several Conan the Barbarian books.
  • Was a nuclear engineer.
  • The Wheel of time series amounts to over 11,300 pages, 4,000,000 words and, if read out loud, would take 2 and a half weeks to read.

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

Tells the story of twins raised in southern India, set against a background of political turbulence. Arundhati Roy’s first and only novel is much celebrated and won the 1997 Booker Prize. Since its publication she focussed on political activism and social advocacy.

  • Has written 12 other books, all non-fiction.
  • Is a qualified architect.
  • Lived homeless in Delhi at the age of 16.

Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis

A satire of 90’s consumerism and celebrity culture featuring fashion models that have turned to terrorism. Can be described using cool words like synecdoche, solipsism and designer-terrorism.

Interesting Facts:

  • Ellis went to university with future bestselling writers Donna Tartt and Jonathan Lethem.
  • There was a literary conspiracy theory that Ellis wrote Donna Tartt’s bestseller, The Secret History.
  • In his youth did stupendous amounts of drugs.

What have you seen around the place?

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