kottke.org posts about Brian Joseph Davis

Books have stalledNov 03 2009

This is a curious exchange between "book mechanic" Michael Turner and interviewer Brian Joseph Davis. Turner says:

We are living at a time when, for the writer, the book is too little.

And then Davis replies, in part:

[The book] is stalled out, in terms of technology, at 1500 AD, and sociologically at around 1930.

The sociological stalling of the book around 1930...I have no idea what that means. Could someone more steeped in book culture explain what that might mean? (via ettagirl)

Update: Henrietta Walmark asked Davis what he meant by his "sociological stalling" remark. Here's what he said:

Literature in book form, and discussion around it, was the mark of education, of the gentry and petit bourgeois. Literature in book form never really found a place in mass produced, post WW2 middle class culture.

That's pretty much the consensus of my inbox as well...TV and radio took over as the cultural currency around then.

Editing Dan BrownSep 18 2009

Brian Joseph Davis takes a crack at editing some passages from the first two chapters of The Da Vinci Code.

Maybe using the adverb "slowly" seven times in your first 10 pages is the secret to good writing. That would make it 11,428,571 copies sold for every "slowly."

See also Dan Brown's worst sentences.

Captain Bezu Fache carried himself like an angry ox, with his wide shoulders thrown back and his chin tucked hard into his chest. His dark hair was slicked back with oil, accentuating an arrow-like widow's peak that divided his jutting brow and preceded him like the prow of a battleship. As he advanced, his dark eyes seemed to scorch the earth before him, radiating a fiery clarity that forecast his reputation for unblinking severity in all matters.

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