"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Books Books Books

I have come to the sad conclusion that sometime near the beginning of the millennium we reached the point where there are now more books than readers in the world. As publishing becomes more economically efficient and intellectually deficient, each year there are tens of thousands of new books, and only a tiny, tiny minority are worth anything at all. Joseph Bottum's annual Year in Review essay for the Weekly Standard documents this trend superbly, and this year's installment indicates that the ratio of worthy books to dreck is probably lower than ever. Favorite line: "In mysteries and thrillers, there were a few hints this year that the serial-killer subgenre may actually come to end within our lifetime. (And some people think that God doesn't exist.)"

Read it and weep, and laugh if you can.

2 comments:

Jay said...

I would say that's a sad trend, except I don't think I've read a single newly published book this year...I've been making my way through a long list of 'classics', and neglecting the thousands of new ones, whether they be worthy or not.

J
http://saintvodkaofthemartini.blogspot.com/

Montster said...

Yes, I'll agree with your conclusion (with the caveat that I believe books outpaced readers maybe as early as a decade or two ago)
I consider myself a bibliophile, and I, like Jay, find too many "classics" still waiting to even bother with each years latest offerings.
Seems to me that there are lots of great books in every genre. What we seem to have now is a generation that (if they read at all); have to "wait for the next in a series" to be published to have anything to read.
This is caused by laziness. Either not wanting to expend the effort to find an extant volume to their liking, or unwilling to invest the "gray matter" necessary to appreciate anything deeper than a romance novel. I don't see it getting any better any time soon.