These days it is impossible to get away from discussions of whether the book will survive the digital revolution. Blogs, tweets and newspaper articles on the subject appear daily, many of them repetitive, most of them admitting ignorance of the future. Amidst the twittering, the thoughts of Jean-Claude Carrière and Umberto Eco come as a breath of fresh air.
This book is so far from my normal reading that it could just as well be some alien scribblings from another galaxy … and I loved every minute of reading it. It is also something as exotic as a old-fashioned paper book. You know, the kind that uses sheets made out of vegetable material with something called ink on each sheet. It is a lot thicker than a tablet and there is no built in light thus you cannot read it in front of the telly or in a otherwise dark room. My father tells me that this is how he read things all the time. Amazing!
Anyway, jokes aside. This was a really an enjoyable book. The title can be a bit misleading though. If you think this will be some educated insight into whether paper books will prevail over digital media then this is not the book for you. This book contains a very entertaining dialogue between two literary, I dare say giants, who are very knowledgeable and well versed in the areas of literature and history. However, their views of the world are undoubtedly confined by their own interests which they, obviously, feels very strongly about. Whenever they venture into areas of technology then … well let us just say that I do not exactly agree with their statements no matter how eloquently they are put forward.
The enjoyment of this book is the wonderful dialogue between these two people. When reading the book I had to wonder how much effort that went into each reply or more specifically, do these two people actually remember all of these historical facts and can they pull all of these quotes out of their heads, like rabbits out of a hat, during a conversation without having to go and look them up or do some research first?
Thanks to the many quotes, references to historical facts and anecdotes that accompany the “discussions” this book is incredibly enjoyable to read and at the same time a treasure of historical interesting facts and anecdotes. I have actually only read one book of Umberto Eco before,The name of the Rose which I liked a lot, and nothing really from Jean-Claude Carrière.
It is not a book that you read lightly while watching TV or something though. At least that is something that I could not do. This is a book that I had to put some effort into actually reading in order to enjoy it. Thus it also took me a long time to finish it.