Thursday, December 06, 2012

"Lite beer is not the great leap forward."

It's been so long that Blogger now uses a template for posts that is completely foreign to me. We'll see how this goes.

There might be a books-related year-end post or two (or three) coming up. This one is just to point to an interview with Joe Queenan I posted last week, about his new memoir "One for the Books." It's about his lifetime of reading the classics, the crap and everything in between. I think the whole thing is pretty funny, which isn't surprising. Several years ago, my dad and I were flying to Las Vegas from Dallas. On the plane, Dad was reading "Red Lobster, White Trash and the Blue Lagoon: Joe Queenan's America." And he was laughing really hard. Cut to a couple of days later in a casino, where a burly man comes up to Dad and says, "Hey, you were the guy laughing on my flight the other day. What were you reading, anyway?"

My favorite exchange with Queenan from this interview is below. I can't tell you how much I agree with his answer:

Me: One of your book’s biggest themes is the superiority of books to
 e-readers. Are you optimistic about the future of books on paper? And do 
you consider this book more of an early eulogy or a rallying cry?

JQ: The book is elegiac. Books, I think, are dead. You cannot fight the zeitgeist and you cannot fight corporations. The genius of corporations is that they force you to make decisions about how you will live your life and then beguile you into thinking that it was all your choice. Compact discs are not superior to vinyl. E-readers are not superior to books. Lite beer is not the great leap forward. A society that replaces seven-tier wedding cakes with lo-fat cupcakes is a society that deserves to be put to the sword. But you can’t fight City Hall. I also believe that everything that happens to you as you grow older makes it easier to die, because the world you once lived in, and presumably loved, is gone. As I have said before, when Keith Richards goes, I’m going too. Same deal with books.