Tuesday May 7, 2013
There's a certain kind of irony to this story...
Harper Lee is a world-famous, award-winning author, known for her To Kill a Mockingbird, where her characters argue for tolerance, racial justice and human kindness. Atticus says: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... 'til you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."
According to recent reports from Telegraph, Bloomberg, LA Times, and beyond--a literary agent "engaged in a scheme to dupe" Harper Lee into signing away her copyright. In doing so, the agent purportedly knew about Lee's poor health and failing eyesight.
While Lee has avoided most forms of publicity (interviews, appearances, book tours, etc.) in the years since To Kill a Mockingbird was published, she's making a statement now (even if she's still staying out of the limelight as much as possible). With this lawsuit, Lee appears to once again be standing up against the injustice in society (this time, with herself in center stage). To Kill a Mockingbird drew everyone's attention to the racial injustices in the South; her current case sheds light on elder abuse and age discrimination.
Harper Lee celebrated another birthday on April 28--she was born in 1926. It's refreshing to see that she's still fighting back against injustice in all forms, at any time.
Thursday May 2, 2013
Under the category of NOT THE SAME AT ALL... I came across a great little article from GalleyCat today, about digital autographs.
Authorgraph has been around since 2011. According to the FAQ, "It's a personal, digital inscription for an e-book. It is sent directly from an author to a reader's digital reading device."
If you really think about it, a digital signature of this sort makes sense (in an off-kilter, impersonal way). If we're buying more ebooks, the only way for the books to be signed is via electronic means. And, the separate digital nature of the authorgraph allows the book collector/reader/fan to keep all the digital inscriptions in one (safe/secure) place.
But, of course, the concept of a digital inscription misses the point of an autograph altogether (or at least it does in my mind). Remember the times you've stood in line to meet your favorite author(s)? Or, if you've not yet met him/her, at least that's something tangible to look forward to--part of your "someday-dream-to-meet" musings. The autograph represents a real-life connection with the author--in the present, or back through literary history, as you collect the autographed copies of your favorite novel(s).
But, I'm curious, have you ever received an authorgraph from a favorite author? How many autographs have you collected (or gotten from authors (or other favorite persons-of-interest)? Would you want an authorgraph (the digital inscription)... and/or would you consider giving one as a gift?
Wednesday May 1, 2013
It's May Day! I love this day. Not only was my baby sister born on this day--greeted with Aurora Borealis in the sky upon the advent of her birth--but it's also the first day of May. The flowers are blooming; the birds are singing; and it seems the perfect opportunity to curl up with a good book and read for a while.
In May Day, Sarah Teasdale writes:
"A delicate fabric of bird song
Floats in the air,
The smell of wet wild earth
What are you reading today?
Tuesday April 30, 2013
There's something about the smell of books... Umberto Eco said, "I love the smell of book ink in the morning." And, Ray Bradbury said, "Do you know that books smell like nutmeg or some spice from a foreign land? I loved to smell them when I was a boy. Lord, there were a lot of lovely books once, before we let them go."
I don't recall the first time I recognized that smell. At some point, I just began to yearn after it--to eagerly await the next time I'd visit a library or bookstore. You can tell a lot about a book by the smell. The newness may emanate from the book (crisp pages, ink, and stiff binding), or the leather may give off a musty or sweet odor. It's not always easy to explain...
In Quiet, Please: Dispatches From A Public Librarian, Scott Douglas said, "There was the smell of old books, a smell that has a way of making all libraries seem the same. Some say that smell is asbestos." Or some might just say: "It smells OLD."
Even now, I love the smell of books--old and new. George Robert Gissing said, "I know every book of mine by its smell, and I have but to put my nose between the pages to be reminded of all sorts of things."
I guess I'm not the only one who loves the smell of books...
There's even a bookish fragrance, according to The Independent. And, yes, I'm sure it's one of those smells that only a book-geekish bibliophile could possibly love (but I adore the idea). I'm envious enough that he has more than 300,000 books in his library, but now he's working on a book-inspired fragrance. "The book-aholic has found the cure for everyone who misses the smell of paper in these digital times: a perfume that smells of books, thanks to a 'fatty' olfactory mark."
And, no, I don't think it's a strange thing at all. Do you?