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So Many Books

by Gabriel Zaid

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5661537,122 (3.47)12
So Many Books is not so much a book as a conversation: about books, about reading, about the mad business of how a book is born every 30 seconds. It is a book of proposals and arguments and debate about books, from the age of Socrates to our own. Join the conversation.
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» See also 12 mentions

English (13)  Spanish (2)  All languages (15)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
I read this book back in 2005. Here is what I wrote in my journal about it at the time:

>>Finished reading Gabriel Zaid's So Many Books, a short 144 pg. set of essays on books and reading. The author looks at readers, the publishing industry, and why e-books do not mean the end of printed books among other topics. It was a light, quick, and pleasant read; the book was engaging and relaxing. Highly recommended for those who love books about books and reading. I think the best comment or observation from the book is the notion of constellations of books. One of the points the author makes is that so many books are published that there are now more books than readers. But even though not every book reaches everyone, books still initiate or serve to foster conversations with the readers they do find. Books are as numerous as the stars, and those who distribute them, sellers, libraries, publishers, arrange them in particular constellations for potential readers. So it becomes a matter for readers to find their constellation or constellations. The author writes that "there are more books to contemplate than stars in a night on the high seas. In this immensity, how is a reader to find his personal constellation, those books that will put his life in communication with the universe?" (98). He views the moment when a reader finds his books as a miracle, and I have to say it is a miracle in a most wonderful way when a bit of exploring leads to a wonderful find, and this little book for me was my latest little miracle. What I wonder is what our personal constellations of books say about us? It has been said, in one fomr or another, that we are what we read. But what if others saw your constellations, your stars of reading? And what if you took a moment to look at yours? What could you learn about yourself? About others? And what new, and possibly exciting, conversations would come up as a result? Sounds like a question worth exploring. ( )
  bloodravenlib | Aug 17, 2020 |
An interesting take (this is more a large essay rather than a true full piece of work) on books, the publishing industry, and their future. Specifically in regards to over-publishing, over-production, and slightly touching on the future insofar as technology is involved (eBooks, Kindles, etc.).

A bit dated but not too much (read: 2002), it does figure and factor in Amazon, eBooks, internet, etc. The hypertextual ideas it talks about at the end is basically Wikipedia which is what it never really touches upon.

The work does touch upon the pure avalanche of novels being published each year and our inability to read even 1/5000th of it all. I often think about that now; where if I was born say 50 years ago, I'd never have gotten to read 99.9% of what I've read now (sure, some of the classics like Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche, Walt Whitman, etc, I could; but the point stands).

And to think 100 years from now, just how many MORE pieces of work there will be; and this can then even be expanded to include all media (ie. TV, Movies, artwork, even YouTube channels, etc.). Each successive generation will have more and more pieces of work to read/watch/review etc than the generation before it. Exponentially. I often think about all of the books I won't be able to read because they'll be written AFTER my death, and even the books already written DURING my lifetime that I'll never get the time to read.

Who knows, maybe someday there will be a way to read it all? One can only hope. ( )
  BenKline | May 31, 2017 |
A slim volume whose existence is ironic. Yes, there are too many books, though I'll never tire of reading them, or reading about them if my purchase of this text is anything to go by. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Jul 3, 2016 |
Se m'han fet curts aquests assaigs amb cert to irònic sobre el llibre, el món editorial, els costums entorn de la lectura, les llibreries... Eliminaria la part més tècnica del llibre, penso que hi ha un excés d'estadístiques, sobretot al darrer assaig "Precio y tiraje óptimo de libros". L'interès que em desperten alguns articles és inversament proporcional a la resta (de fet la meitat m'agraden molt i l'altra meitat els eliminaria del llibre). "La medida de la lectura no debe ser el número de libros leídos, sino el estado en que nos dejan. ¿Qué demonios importa si uno es culto, está al día o ha leído todos los libros? Lo que importa es cómo se anda, cómo se ve, cómo se actúa, después de leer. Si la calle y las nubes y la existencia de los otros tienen algo que decirnos. Si leer nos hace, físicamente, más reales." ( )
  maidietallibres | Feb 5, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gabriel Zaidprimary authorall editionscalculated
Defoin, ChristineTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wimmer, NatashaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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The reading of books is growing arithmetically; the writing of books is growing exponentially.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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So Many Books is not so much a book as a conversation: about books, about reading, about the mad business of how a book is born every 30 seconds. It is a book of proposals and arguments and debate about books, from the age of Socrates to our own. Join the conversation.

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