Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Gutenberg Elegies - post II

Having used chapter one to kick off the debate the pace is changed and there is a moment for a bit of an autobiographical sketch of Sven’s development as a reader, a failed novelist and a bookseller before settling on his current vocation as an essayist.

In some respects he is establishing not just a love for the written word as a reader but an understanding of the commercial nature of the publishing business with his spell working for the Borders brothers and second-hand bookshops in various locations.

This makes him a more likeable character and in some cases you end up nodding your head as he describes the wonder of reading and the enjoyment that a new book or a special discovery can provoke.

He also reveals his first moments of ‘deep reading’ when he was in isolation on the Maine coast just with a book for company. There is a theme already here that reading is a more meaningful experience when the conditions are free of technological distraction and the reader is alone with the book.

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