Thursday, 25 November 2010

BOATS AGAINST THE CURRENT

There seems to have been so much Fitzgerald chat about recently, what with the revelation of The Great Gatsby casting being revealed. To mark the 70 years since his death, Penguin Classics are reissuing six of Fitzgerald's titles - including Gatsby! - in special-edition hardback with covers designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith:









Penguin Classics - the F Scott Fitzgerald Collection


Um HELLO Christmas present?


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"And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter - tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further... And one fine morning -

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past..."

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Oh, wait, didn't you get the memo? I'm a HUGE GEEK and this is the kinda shiz that makes me MAD excited!

I was recently at a lecture by Jon Snow at Edinburgh University (nerd alert) entitled A Changing Media in a Changing World, where he made lots of interesting points about all the exciting advances in the media BUT shockingly (or perhaps not so much) he gave print newspapers a shelf-life of 25 more years MAX. I get that, I guess. That kind of news is so fleeting and insubstantial, it's out of date as soon as it's printed. People don't care about the physicality of news any more.

That said, he did say that no matter how plugged into the matrix we all become, books will never die out because people will always want to own something permanent, something that's fixed and never changes. You want to own the words themselves, they become your possessions, your thoughts. Yours. You own them metaphorically AND physically.

You can dress Gatsby up however you like, but I will ALWAYS choose reading the book - holding it in my hands, folding down the corners, tucking it into my bag just to keep me company - over downloading it online. Just doesn't feel the same, yi' know?

5 comments:

beewaits said...

Fully agree that books will always exist. You can't beat the feeling of a book getting slowly thicker in your left hand...and the smell of new book. YES. I'm ashamed to say I've never read much Fitzgerald (maybe a few short stories if I recall)..but these guys may be the perfect excuse to visit him. The design is perfect xx

Kirsty said...

Oh yes, you must! I agree, there is nothing that can beat that feeling of "wearing in" a book :)

His short stories are awesome too, especially The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, of which the film was a let down. Exactly why the thought of a Gatsby film makes me decidedly nervy... xx

Rosie said...

Oh wow, those covers are AMAZING!
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.

Rosie x

Chris said...

Aye, totally agree on the books. Same as vinyl always being around (well, peak oil may have something to say about it...). Nothing beats opening a new record, putting it on the platter and getting slowly sozzled. Fucking bliss.

And I've lost count of the amount of times I've given myself a wee pat on the back for making the left hand side of a book slightly thicker, especialy with a total monster, like The Brothers Karamazov.

(Plus you can leave books lying around that you haven't even read the blur of yet to make yourself look all clever and stuff...)

Environmentally, though... I wonder how much of an impact printing has on forests etc. And the ink, the shipping, the energy used to make them - it's a fucking oil bonanza. On that front, the digital argument wins out.

But still...comptuter screen headaches...bleugh. Maybe just stop printing so much utter shit and just put stuff like Ross Kemp's Recipe Classics online. Actually, that sounds great! *runs off to email Ross...*

molly harv said...

ahaha i love your blog!xxxo

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