Death of the Monoculture

Aug 08, 2014

Everybody has an opinion, thank God for that. Without opinions, what would we say at cocktail parties? One of the current debates involves the internet in literature.

IMG_3881 5.33.38 PMWhen I was a young reader we had one decision 1) hard copy book or 2) no book. If we wanted the book we had one more decision 1) library or 2) bookstore. Since then reading has fragmented: e-books, audible books, cd’s, amazon, overdrive, goodreads, and hard copies. Is this good or bad? Opinions fly.

I asked my son recently if his generation was disoriented by all the chaos. What do you mean? I reminded him that I grew up with 3 television channels and two local papers, but we now have hundreds of channels and that he reads much of his news on a merry-go-round called reddit. Oh, he answered. You mean the death of the monoculture? No, we aren’t bothered at all.

Last night I experienced the best of both worlds. Old and New. Parnassus Books, an independent bookstore in Nashville, hosted a ‘Wine With The Author’ evening. I learned about the event on-line (facebook, webpage, local news) then I texted a friend to join me there.

At the event, I bought several real books and listened to the live author speak. As Carol Burnett said of Broadway — there is nothing like breathing the same air.

IMG_3882 5.33.38 PM

Refreshments were themed. Subversive Children’s Literature. The cake was the ever present kiddie lit bunny. Our wine, complements of The Wine Shoppe, was Kung Fu Girl and the Velvet Devil.

The author told good stories. The audience asked good questions. After the event I went on line and easily researched several books that had been mentioned. I pulled up each of the three author’s blogs which included further information, even portions of the book which had not made the cut. Outtakes, if you will. I also read the thoughts of one of the authors who died shorty after turning in the manuscript. Extraordinary really. I wish I had been following him for years.

In the middle of the night I went on Amazon and sent a copy of the book to my friend in Seattle. Then, I went to bed with my real hard cover, page turning book and read myself to sleep. Sometimes I get put out with all the tech—which is not second nature to me—but last night the two worlds, old and new, worked well for me. They enriched one another. Still, I know this much, I don’t want to live in a city without a bookstore. Thank you Parnassus Books.