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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Batch Early Review E-books from LibraryThing, together with some thoughts about the future of publishing, and how cultural icons are rehabilitated, etc.

You may remember me writing about e-books way back in the summer of 2011, (here) that it was like over-indulging in junk food. I found that it was too true, and I was already past the point of satiation. Without the trap of time, spent with only a phone to read from (first travelling and then waiting around in a hospital waiting room), my appetite went down for reading indie e-books. However, I requested some ARCs of e-books from LibraryThing before I really realized it, and here are the reviews:

Things Falling Apart
by JW Schnarr

This one is OK - deft enough, but didn't make me desperate to get back to the stories. Dark, Canadian, random, fragmentary...not bad, but not that special.

by Kristina Meister

The premise is cool, the voice seemed believable, but I couldn't quite stay with it long enough to find out where it was going. I may be able to get back to this and fill out my impressions.

Twice Shy
by Patrick Freivald

The cover resembles my fashion look-book on Pinterest, funnily enough. Cute idea of zombies masked to pass as humans. Readable enough, but not something I find myself choosing when I have a choice of books.

I have stopped requesting new indie e-books to review. However...

ON the other hand, there is something which has driven me back to the world of public-domain classics that are available thru the miracle of the internet.

By this I mainly mean the BBC show SHERLOCK–I sort of feel like I'm part of the fandom, can't get enough, regularly rewatch episodes, getting excited by the approach of the 3rd season in November, and got REALLY excited by the announcement of a 4th season to come– but also including the two Guy Ritchie movies of the more historic Sherlock Holmes, breathe...

I happened upon a short group of Sherlock Holmes stories on my iPad. When I first went "i-" I naturally checked out all the reading resources. I have, and use, and regularly buy for, mainly Kindle, but I also have iBooks, Stanza, and Audiobooks which I hardly use, except to try their free classics, plus an app called Classics, plus a free+ app called Sherlock Holmes. For free it has only a small selection of 12 short stories, but how thrilling to go to the original text when teasing apart episodes of SHERLOCK, to find actual quotations that appear in one or the other, and I even found one of the title episodes.

It also got me wondering. Was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle a kind of genius or a popular phenomenon, a gifted hack or...what is the critical opinion, exactly? I recently heard of the rehabilitation of the composer Rachmaninoff and I am there with that. My childhood ears were filled with Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff and Puccini and, there but less so, Beethoven and my own first discovery, Dvorak. All super-easy superstars, sort of somewhat denigrated for their very ease of their popularity. I have always LOVED all of them, but as my music theory improved, I wondered if I loved them only for their childhood familiarity, if the music was simplistic. Needless to say, I was very pleased to hear, from Tom Allen on CBC 2 no less (see the link for his twitter feed on the sidebar) that Rach is being reconsidered as a composer, and shifted up somewhat from his lightweight class.

So, back to Conan Doyle, I am thinking of Adam Gopnik writing about Moby Dick in the The New Yorker in 2007, here, with the idea that works that would nowadays be "..., by conventional contemporary standards of good editing and critical judgment, improved..." are, in fact, hailed as genius because of their ideosyncratic irregularity.

Certainly merits some additional thought.

The marigold is wondering somewhat nervously about how one's reputation fares when one admits to liking the popular. What strength of character and reputation is required to be part of the movement towards critical acceptance rather than popular?

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