Critical Linking: May 19, 2012

In other words, it’s not much like a book club at all, unless a book club met in a sold-out Madison Square Garden. And nobody left the meeting for a solid month. And they all nattered on endlessly about a single book. If this sounds like a virtual Babel, that’s not far from the truth. This is literary exegesis in 140-character bursts.

#1book140 is one of my favorite things on the internet.

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You have no idea who they are or that they exist at all. Nevertheless, as you read, your fellow adventurers are out there waiting to meet you, biding their time behind a chance encounter, a well-fated introduction, a tweet, or a blog post, or an otherwise interesting article of prose. You didn’t realize it, but so much mystery, so much anticipation has amassed behind your new friendship, a cosmos-load of potential energy. You didn’t know it — you were too engaged with the mind behind the words — but through all the sentences, the pages, the lovely, lonely hours past, a part of you secretly longed for a flesh-and-blood friend with whom you could share your experience.

The bond formed over a shared love of books is all the stronger for its elusiveness.

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The crazy part of it is that we are breeding professional, competent, homogenised writers who will go on to teach writing that is professional, competent and homogenised. The intriguing part of it is whether this movement towards creativity and self-expression is really the start of a kind of Occupy – that it could be dangerous and confrontational, not homogenised at all.

Could it be that the wealth of creative outlets we now have are the very things that will keep things largely the way they are?

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Put a book in your ears. We recommend The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. Get it or one of 250,000 other audiobooks free when you begin an Audible 30-day trial. audible_scifi_570x147
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