From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Paperspine is trying to do for books what Netflix did for DVDs. In fact, Dustin Hubbard — the Microsoft Corp. program manager who co-founded the Issaquah startup on a leave of absence this summer — said he was inspired by the online movie rental company when he came up with the idea.
It happened one night while putting a book into a crowded nightstand. Hubbard, who has spent 10 years at Microsoft, started wondering why he simply couldn’t return the book for another, a la Netflix.
Maybe they do things differently on the West Coast, but last time I checked, there was a place called a library where you could check out a book, return it when you were finished, and get another—all for free!
Sure there’s the potential for late fees at libraries, and sometimes you have to wait to get the hot new book, but with depressing stories about American reading habits coming out every other week (thanks NEA!), I have a hard time imagining anyone paying $120-$300 a year to get the 4-6 books they’ll probably read that year shipped directly to their home.
But what do I know? If it works, if it takes paying for something like this to get people to read, then great. I’m just not going to hold my breath. (Besides, why don’t you just set up a rental service for the Kindle? That would be cheaper, more efficient, and more likely to create a cache of cool.)
Upon completing Albertine Sarrazin’s Astragal I was left to wonder why it ever fell from print. Aside from the location, Astragal could pass as the great American novel. Its edginess and rawness capture the angst and desires we all had. . .
When my eyes first crossed the back cover of Fabio Genovesi’s novel Live Bait, I was caught by a blurb nestled between accolades, a few words from a reviewer for La Repubblica stating that the novel was, however magically, “[b]eyond. . .
“I preferred the war to the plague,” writes Curzio Malaparte in his 1949 novel, The Skin. He speaks of World War II and the destruction it has wrought on Italy, the city of Naples in particular. But the plague he. . .
With the steady rise of feminist scholarship and criticism in recent decades, it is little wonder that the work of Louise Labé should be attracting, as Richard Sieburth tells us in the Afterword to his translation, a “wide and thriving”. . .
In Conversations, we find ourselves again in the protagonist’s conscious and subconscious, which is mostly likely that of Mr. César Aira and consistent with prototypical Aira style. This style never fails because each time Aira is able to develop a. . .
You are not ashamed of what you do, but of what they see you do. Without realizing it, life can be an accumulation of secrets that permeates every last minute of our routine . . .
The narrative history of. . .
Literature in translation often comes with a certain pedigree. In this little corner of the world, with so few books making it into this comforting nook, it is often those of the highest quality that cross through, and attention is. . .
Alessandro Baricco’s Mr. Gwyn is a set of two loosely interlinked novellas that play with narrative and the construction of character. Ably translated by Ann Goldstein, Mr. Gwyn plays some subtle metafictional games as Baricco delves into what it means. . .
I must admit upfront that I went into reading Saadat Hasan Manto’s Bombay Stories almost entirely blind. I have not read Salman Rushdie. I have read, perhaps, two short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri. I might shamefully add that I really. . .
Throughout his work The Gray Notebook, Josep Pla mentions many different authors, some of whom have inspired him to pick up a pen. One of them is Marcel Proust. Even though Pla normally prefers nonfiction, he lauds the French novelist. . .