(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘history of the book

Oh yeah, I’ve read it…

The folks at the blog Book Riot surveyed over 800 of their readers, asking what books they pretend to have read.  The “winners”…

  1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (85 mentions)
  2. Ulysses by James Joyce
  3. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  4. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  5. The Bible
  6. 1984 by George Orwell
  7. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  8. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  9. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  10. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  11. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  12. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  13. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  14. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
  15. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  16. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  17. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  18. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  19. Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
  20. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (21 mentions)

The full list does contain some (though not much) non-fiction; Critique of Pure Reason and The Communist Manifesto make the top 50.  Still, it’s a surprise not to see A Brief History of Time near the top…

Read the full story here— and enjoy the comparisons with their “best-loved” and “intended to read” lists.

[Image above sourced here.]


As we rethink our Kindle queues, we might send elegantly-printed birthday greetings to William Caxton; he was born on this date in 1422… or so tradition holds; his actual birthday was surely around this time, but is unknown. Caxton worked as a  merchant, diplomat, writer, and translator; but is best remembered as a printer– the first English printer.  Caxton and the dissemination of his printed works are credited with helping to standardize the English language (to homogenize regional differences); he’s also credited with establishing the spelling of “ghost” with a silent h (a function of his familiarity with the Flemish spelling).

Daniel Maclise’s depiction of Caxton showing the first specimen of his printing to King Edward IV and Queen Elizabeth at the Almonry, Westminster


Written by (Roughly) Daily

August 13, 2013 at 1:01 am

What’s Past is Prologue: The Future of the Book…

A guest post from Scenarios and Strategy (almanac entry added)…

“Special Glasses for Reading in Bed” source: Nationaal Archief

Much breath is being spent by the Chattering Classes predicting, debating, and otherwise worrying over the fates of the book, journalism, and publishing at large– broadly speaking: the creation, dissemination, storage, and use of knowledge itself.  Lots of jargon, a wealth of acronyms, and liberal use of facile analogies and constructs– it’s all a little dizzying.

Happily, Tim Carmody has ridden to the rescue. While he has mooted his own manifesto for the future of the book (eminently worth a read), his most recent contribution to the Science and Technology section of The Atlantic blog, is just what one needs in a Babel-like time such as this– some context.  In “10 Reading Revolutions Before E-Books,” that’s precisely what he provides as he recounts, for example, the move from rolled scroll to folded codex, the replacement of papyrus by parchment (and then paper), the shift from vertical to horizontal writing/reading, back to vertical…

It’s fascinating; it’s illuminating… and it’s a terrifically useful reminder that writing, reading– communicating– and the forms in which they’re done have always been in flux: “10 Reading Revolutions Before E-Books.”

As we pine for those iPads, we might recall that it was on this date in 1920 that radio station 8MK (later WBL, then WWJ) in Detroit became the first U.S. broadcaster to air regularly-scheduled newscasts.  The station, founded by the Scripps family and housed in their Detroit News headquarters, had gone on air 11 days earlier; then, after a period of testing, inaugurated its service with election returns.

Memoir of 8MK’s first employee (source)

%d bloggers like this: