Skip to main content

The future of books

The future of... Question, when in literary contexts, usually relates to the novel. Will the novel be around in ten, twenty years time? The novel is quite frequently doomed by those whom the medium has served quite well but are coming to the winter of their writing careers/lives, like the recently prophesying Phillip Roth. Yet it goes on. Every few years it becomes reinvigorated and new attention is shone on it. Mass market fiction is, at the moment in quite a healthy state of affairs. It seems. Hasn't it now got the Richard and Judy show behind it - the equivalent of the Oprah Book Club? Or is this just high capitalism 'infecting' the noble art of story-telling and the state of the novel is really in quite a dire state?
However it is viewed, a recent article, penned from the Frankfurt Book Fair, asked what those attendees, book industry professionals all, thought of the future of the book. Most said it would, indeed, still be with us in fifty years time. The bookseller on the High Street, however, may not.
I was on Oxford Street the other day and noticed that the most recently opened Waterstones there had closed and was boarded up. I am on Oxford St on a fairly regular basis, for one reason and another, and what surprised me most of all was that I hadn't even noticed it was closing. Maybe it was a moonlight flit! I have been in there, browsing usually, loads of times. Then I realised that the last book I bought was Jack London's The Star Rover from... Amazon!
And then there was the recent launch of the Sony Reader. I saw a picture of it online and, I have to say, it looks quite impressive. Text size can be reduced, increased, probably even made to sing and dance too. But would it FEEL the same as holding a book? Only time will tell. Although, ten years ago I never thought I would be typing away on a blackberry to a blog!!

Popular posts from this blog

Who was Mary Burns?

On 7th January 1863 Mary Burns was found dead from a suspected heart attack. She was 43 years old. Since her death Mary has received barely any attention despite the fact that she spent over twenty years as the common-law wife of Friedrich Engels, one of the world’s most influential thinkers and the co-founder of Marxism.

Born in 1822, Mary was the oldest surviving child of textile dyer and factory operative, Michael Burns, and Mary Conroy, Irish immigrants from Tipperary. Mary’s parents had married at St. Patrick’s in an area known casually as Irish Town, one of few Catholic churches in Manchester at that time. The year of Mary’s birth and her infancy were significant in that Manchester was still dealing with the aftermath of the event that became known as the 1819 Peterloo Massacre, a peaceful protest of the working-classes on the site of St. Peter’s Fields in which several people were killed and hundreds injured. The Massacre occurred when magistrates, alarmed at the size of t…

My PhD critical paper

I thought I'd upload the critical element of my PhD thesis. Hopefully, for those who are interested enough to read it, it will make sense despite the references to my creative work, which I can't upload as I'm seeking publication. And besides, at 68,000 words...

I'm also going to tweak section one of this three section critical paper with a view to journal publication because of the academic interest in the claims I make of Mary.

-Dedicated with love and respect to Dr Bruce Lloyd-

And in memory of my parents:
Thomas Valentine and Joan Theresa
Good people who taught me so much more than they realised


The biggest thank-you is due to Norma Clarke, Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Kingston University, who supervised this PhD. I never had cause to doubt my initial instincts as Norma proved to be the best mentor I could ever have wished for.

I would also like to acknowledge the generous studentship that I was fortunate to be awarded by Kingston Universi…

Midwinter Break - Bernard McLaverty

The only other book that I've read of Bernard MacLaverty was the sublime Grace Notes, published in 1997, and shortlisted for the Booker Prize of the same year. That prize was awarded to an author of another similar hiatus recently broken, Arundhati Roy, of the widely acclaimed The God of Small Things. I was certain, when buying the kindle version of Midwinter Break, that MacLaverty's first book in seventeen years (Cal, 2001, was his most recent) had made both the Booker Longlist and Shortlist - but having just double-checked - am disappointed and confused to find it had made neither. MacLaverty's prose style feels Yatesian, after the late Richard Yates, US author of Revolutionary Road, and TheEaster Parade
Midwinter Break, set in Amsterdam, is written in the same deliciously clear and poignant prose that so widely marked out Grace Notes. The husby and I have not long returned from a late summer break in that same fabulous city. With the visit to the Rijksmuseum still fre…