Sunday, September 03, 2006

Did someone say, "Books are dead"?

The Hindu celebrates their surprisingly healthy state with a set of short articles by book lovers. Here's a snippet from Nilanjana Roy (of Kitabkhana fame), who talks about the role of lit-blogs:

...[W]hy were people still reading — and reading about reading, at that? We had no idea. But over time, Bookslut, Galleycat, MobyLives, the Complete Review, Arts & Letters Daily, Elegant Variation, Moorish Girl — to name just a handful of urls — became powerhouses.

These litblogs did everything; some filtered the best of mainstream media writing on books, some did snarky one-paragraph posts that spared no author, publisher or critic, some did long interviews, some specialized in publishing industry news. The medium was infinitely flexible. Book discussions on punctuation or post-modernism, reviewing or Rumi, could run for months in the comments section; an accomplished blogger could link to an author's entire publication history and writings in the course of a six-line post. The readers came in droves. They wanted poetry and translations and out-of-print authors. They wanted big fat histories and slender short stories. Readers asked for sharper reviews, more intense interviews, more books, more and more and more books.