Critical Linking: January 27th, 2014

 

So how about something similar for books, you ask? For that, we can look back to 2007, when J. Peder Zane, the book editor of the Raleigh News & Observer, asked 125 top writers to name their favorite books — writers like Norman Mailer, Annie Proulx, Stephen King, Jonathan Franzen, Claire Messud, and Michael Chabon. The lists were all compiled in an edited collection, The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books, and then prefaced by one uber list, “The Top Top Ten.”

No such thing as a definitive list, but this one surely traces which books have been the most influential to these notable contemporary writers.

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But in conclusion the idea of “Westeros” as anything remotely resembling history is only possible because we live in a post-colonial society, and this skews and warps our idea of what the actual European Middle Ages were like. In regard to gender, ability status, economy, race, religion, production, level of acceptable violence…just about everything.

Ooof. That there is a serious takedown.

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The other shelves held a hodgepodge of books, most of which were giveaways my mother picked when school librarians thinned their collections at the end of the year. I read what we had and cherished the days that our class at school was allowed to go to the library — a space I approached the way most people approach religious buildings — and the days when the bookmobile came to our school from the regional library.

It is no exaggeration to say that those books saved me: from a life of poverty, stress, depression and isolation.

Never hurts to be reminded that there are lives behind reading statistics.

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But if B&N doesn’t stay healthy, the publishing industry will change phenomenally. Bookstores are incredibly important—not just as retail outlets, but as places where people go and commune with other like-minded individuals, many of them strangers, and talk about big ideas and compare notes on what they’ve been reading and what’s going on in the world.

Does this really happen in Barnes & Noble stores? I must have been going to the wrong ones.

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