Donna Tartt on “The writhing loathsomeness of the biological order”

I haven't enjoyed the Goldfinch but this 321 words made the other 3-400k worthwhile: 

“.. depression wasn't the word. This was a plunge encompassing sorrow and revulsion far beyond the personal: a sick, drenching nausea at all humanity and human endeavour from the dawn of time. The writhing loathsomeness of the biological order. Old age, sickness, death. No escape for anyone. Even the beautiful ones were like soft fruit about to spoil. And yet somehow people still kept fucking and breeding and popping out new fodder for the grave, producing more and more new beings to suffer like this was some kind of redemptive, or good, or even somehow morally admirable thing: dragging more innocent creatures into the lose-lose game. Squirming babies and plodding, complacent, hormone-drugged moms. Oh, isn't he cute? Awww. Kids shouting and skidding in the playground with no idea what future Hells await them: boring jobs and ruinous mortgages and bad marriages and hair loss and hip replacements and lonely cups of coffee in an empty house and a colostomy bag at the hospital. Most people seemed satisfied with the thin decorative glaze and the artful stage lighting that sometimes, made the bedrock atrocity of the human predicament look somewhat more mysterious or less abhorrent. People gambled and golfed and planted gardens and traded stocks and had sex and bought new cars and practiced yoga and worked and prayed and redecorated their homes and got worked up over the news and fussed over their children and gossiped about their neighbors and pored over restaurant reviews and founded charitable organizations and supported political candidates and attended the U.S. Open and dined and travelled and distracted themselves with all kinds of gadgets and devices, flooding themselves incessantly with information and texts and communication and entertainment from every direction to try to make themselves forget it: where we were, what we were. But in a strong light there was no good spin you could put on it. It was rotten from top to bottom.”





Andrew Marr gets comfy with an e-book

It has long been predicted that traditional books are about to be replaced by little machines on which you can download any novel you fancy. But the technology has never really been up to the job - until now. Here Andrew Marr, who treasures his smelly, beautiful library of real books, spends a month with one of the new gadgets

This is a rather honest appraisal of why e-books and e-paper won't upset bibliophiles but may well change the world from Andrew Marr, a highly-respected political commentator for the BBC (and self confessed 'bibliomaniac').

It's quality is in its understanding; the potential of technology like the Rex Iliad clearly drives the prospect of having entire bookcases in your hand, and he is very balanced in driving home his (and my) absolute love of books, both as fantastically efficient technology in themselves and also as the finest mass-produced luxury object. How many other knick-knacks could possibly contain entire worlds and dreams, histories of empires and of peasants and do so in such a beautifully corporeal way. Marr even advises the manufacturers
on this:

'my advice to the makers is to refine the page-turning just a little more, offer a battered blue cloth-bound wallet and, above all, make it smell - just a little musty, please. Or dank. You could offer a choice. '

Ultimately he is 'reluctantly impressed' - knowing that the next time he heaves a box full of holiday reading out to the car he could fit it all in his back pocket. Also the certain knowledge that it will impact enormously on more transient literature and general ephemera is quite noticeable. Eventually you'll never search for the manual that you think you left in the drawer under the sink - it will just be saved on the e-book, along with that pamphlet that you downloaded on gardening in Nova Scotia, the insurance dockets, the latest copy of the TLS, every crossword Araucaria ever penned, and all your notes for the novel you intend to write...