Monday, May 31, 2010

The Slipperiness of Facts

TODAY'S New York Times Book Review has a sharp, funny piece called "The Joy of (Outdated) Facts" about books, the Internet and out-of-date information. I make a brief appearance as an unnamed "school librarian friend" concerned with her students' lack of skepticism. (He's referring to my recent LA Times piece about kids and the Internet.)

The author, Geoffrey Nicholson, is a new discovery for me, an author who blends wit and enthusiasm with a piercing intellect. Reading his work is a true pleasure, and I can't wait to read his essay collection, The Lost Art of Walking. Here's a link to his website.

Nicholson begins talking about his obsession with an old edition of the Guinness Book of Records, and then tells us:

"It took a while for me to understand why my need for the book had been so great, and then I realized, with a bit of a slap to the head, that for much of my life I’ve been accumulating “books of facts,” single volumes as well as multivolume sets. I also have eight random volumes of the 1969 World Book Encyclopedia, which I found on the street. "

More on this shortly.

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