Voices from Russia

Saturday, 28 September 2013

28 September 2013. Only in Russia… “Book House” in Perm

00 'Book House' in Perm. Russia. 28.09.13


They say that Russians are the “readingist” people on earth, but this house in Perm takes the cake. It’s a real full-size house that people live in. One wonders if the residents are avid readers… they’re certainly handy and crafty (in the good sense of the word).



Thursday, 30 August 2012

Burn, Baby, Burn



For my final blog post, I would, perhaps appropriately, like to talk about a human invention that’s slowly but surely disappearing from our lives… the written page. I mean the actual written page. This isn’t some melodramatic metaphor about the end of higher education or poetry or whatever. The truth is, elderly people with their e-book readers on the Moscow Metro are making me feel like a dinosaur as I sit and dutifully underline sentences I deem most beautiful in my paperback copy of Orhan Pamuk’s latest (friends call me pretentious, but it’s an old habit). Very soon, bookshelves will become as quaint as Victrolas and ornamental piss-pots. It’s good news for the planet’s trees… and bad news for selfish people such as myself, for whom the automated sound of a turning page, standard even for a simple Android app such as Aldiko eBook (perfect for rereads of such public domain classics as the works of Hans Christian Anderson), can’t quite replace the real thing.

I can still remember being a high school student and downloading an excerpt from Stephen King (licensed, of course) onto my desktop computer… then, quickly deciding that if books were going to go electronic, we were going to have to do a whole lot better than that. Well, we have. I predict that eBook design will soon be taught as a major discipline in the humanities… particularly, when you consider just how much one can do with a digital book cover, as opposed to a paper one. However, what on earth will happen to that favourite pastime of reactionary organisations… book-burnings? Let’s all just admit it, breaking out your tinfoil hat, packing a lunch, and driving out to your local book-burning alongside your beloved wife (who, by tradition, is probably also your dear sister), just doesn’t have the same romantic appeal of, say, mutely pressing a “delete” button somewhere.

Surely, eBook deletion will have to gain a public, ritualistic aspect one of these days. Just imagine the technological possibilities! I want to be there to discover just what kind of horrifying and hilarious aspects it’ll take… although I won’t be writing about them in my capacity as the author of Matrix Mama, because this blog’s existence is also coming to an end (although I’m not entirely sure where its place will be on the historic continuum… hopefully, not next to the ornamental piss-pot). To quote a bad movie with a good soundtrack, “It was real, and it was great, and it was really great”.

22 August 2012

Natalia Antonova




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