On Reading: The Last Book

Every day and throughout the year, I spend a substantial amount of my time reading about reading. From scholarly articles to academic books to chronicles of reading and reading memoirs. I am going to post a series of short observations on the books (and the occasional articles) that I have been reading particularly reflecting on the presence (or lack thereof) of romance fiction, and on how I feel my perceptions of reading aline with the authors. 

Reinier Gerritsen's The Last Book

Reinier Gerritsen’s The Last Book

The Last Book by Reinier Gerritsen (photographer); introductory essay by Boris Kachka. Published in 2014.

Boris Kachka, in the introduction of The Last Book  discusses futurist Negroponte’s prediction that the printed book will disappear by 2015. Though this prediction has not been realised, ebooks have indeed impacted the way we read. On transport, we get fewer glimpses at a stranger’s individual taste. Where print books were a window to a person’s self, tablets and ereaders, Kachka says, now act as a mirror. Phototgrapher Reinier Gerritsen observed that the incidence of people reading on trains was diminishing so he wanted to document the reading that was still being undertaken on transport.

Gerritsen’s photographs of commuters with their print reading choices depict commuters whose reading choices are broad. There are classics, bestsellers, eclectic and translated titles, children’s books, fiction and nonfiction. There are more male than female authors and more male than female commuters represented in this book. Continue reading

Commuting and podcasts

It’s that time of the month again. I’ll be on Linda Mottram’s The Blurb on 702 ABC Sydney talking about podcasts on Tuesday at aroundabout-ish 10:30-ish am AEST.

Last year I started commuting long distances again for the first time in over a decade. I discovered that reading on trains had changed. I no longer had to dodge the selfish broadsheet reader, there were definitely fewer (print) book readers but a lot more music listeners, particularly devoid of any sense of train etiquette play-that-tinny-music-loud boy, than back in my “good ol’ days” of walkmans. And there are lots and lots of smart phone and tablet readers. I was never all that big on reading on the train to start with. I have always been a social bunny and I tend to meet people on transport and strike up friendships with them (I met my husband John in his car while scamming a lift to a train station, I met my son’s godmother commuting on trains & buses to get to uni and one of my closest friends is @MereJames whom my husband met while commuting to work by train). Sadly most people aren’t as open to meeting people on transport and I only made one new friend on the train last year so I had to have back up reading with me. Continue reading