Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore

Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore

I love this novel! I’d really like to read your thoughts on the following questions:

  1. On Page 35, Mr Penumbra states that ‘the relationship between book and reader is private’. What does he mean by this? How does the novel complicate this relationship?
  2. On page 58, Kat says: ‘But I think writers had their turn…and now it’s programmers who get to upgrade the human operating system.’ Does the novel privilege programmers/digital over writers/print? Do you agree that programmers are now more important than writers?
  3. At the heart of the novel is the collision of old-world handwork and the automated digital age. How do Clay and Mat build a bridge between these two worlds?
  4. The characters remind us that fifteenth-century technologies of the book—from punch-cutting to typesetting—were met with fear and resistance, as well as with entrepreneurial competition and the need to teach new skills. How does this compare to the launch of e-books? If you try to picture what literacy will look like five hundred years from now, what do you see?

I like the smell of books…

I like the smell of books…

This week’s lecture is entitled ‘I like the smell of books’. This seems to be the most common reason people give for preferring printed books. So my questions are:

What is it about the physical book that remains such an attraction for readers? Is it the smell? What are your reading habits?