Monday, May 15, 2006

"IGNORANCE IN HIGH PLACES"

By Paul Levine

Journalism, rather than fiction, plasters my desk today.

"What Will Happen to Books?" by Kevin Kelly in Sunday's New York Times Magazine is a must-read piece. The author describes the digital library of the near future. It's a place where everything contained in all the libraries of the world -- 32 million books, 750 million articles, 25 million songs, 500,000 movies and more -- "will all fit onto your iPod. When that happens, the library of all libraries will ride in your purse or wallet."

Wow. I just hope the "library of all libraries" includes all the old issues of MAD magazine my Mom threw out around the time of my Bar Mitzvah.

* * *

Highly recommended: "Film's Know-Nothings" in Monday's Wall Street Journal. Joe Morgenstern, the nonpareil film critic, excorciates today's screenwriters, directors, and studio execs for their lack of experience in the real world. "Unworldly though today's Hollywood careerists may be, they are surely to be pitied as well as censured. So many meetings, so many calls to agents and managers, so many studio notes, so much ignorance in high places, such ardent input for such negligible output."

You're right Joe, but you're being far too kind.

* * *

With newspapers on my mind, what a shame that so few dailies still maintain full-fledged book sections. The column inches devoted to books continues to decline in favor of celebrity blather, gossip news, and Hollywood coverage that focuses on which movies make the most money. [The weekly box office charts puzzle me. When's the last time you said, "Honey, I see Porky's 7 did 30 million last weekend. We'd better go see it."] Thank goodness we have specialty publications like MYSTERY SCENE magazine, but still...the failure of major metropolitan newspapes to adequately cover books is scandalous.

So, let's give thanks to the hard-working (and easy reading) folks manning Internet book sites. I'd been away from the book world for several years, writing for television -- yes, that vast wasteland -- and I didn't know how many of these sites existed. But now, I recommend all of the following, and not just because they gave exceedingly kind reviews to SOLOMON vs. LORD and/or THE DEEP BLUE ALIBI. These sites are filling the void. Check 'em out. In no particular order:

Book Loons
Blog Critics
Round Table Reviews
Armchair Reviews
Huntress Reviews
Book-Girl Info
Once Upon a Romance
The Mystery Reader
Bookgasm
Mystery Cove
Reading Review
Bookbitch
Gotta Write Network
Crime Spree
Book Pleasures
Pop Matters
New Mystery Reader
Reviewing the Evidence
Who-Dunnit

There are more, many more, who still believe in the power and the majesty of the written word. Enjoy them all!

By Paul Levine

5 comments:

  1. GO PAUL!!!

    Great great links, and most excellent observations too!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the info, Paul. There are a few new-to-me sites on that list. My mouse pointer is now moving toward the link.

    ReplyDelete
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