a book is a place . . . 12.29.2008, 2:03 PM
posted by bob stein
The institute got a fantastic xmas gift last week -- the seven women reading The Golden Notebook together said they are now having such a good time discussing the book in the margin they've decided to keep the conversation going well beyond it's planned six weeks. Whew! At the beginning, this experiment, one of the most significant in the institute's four+ years, looked for awhile as though it might not take off. The women didn't know each other before they were recruited for the project, and, with one exception, weren't used to using the web as a medium of public expression and discourse, especially one where they were commenting on a text as they read it, as opposed to the usual MO of developing a synthesis after the whole had been digested.
Anyone who has attended one of my talks over the past couple of years or read the piece i posted over the summer knows that i've taken to describing one future of the book as "a place where readers (and sometimes authors) congregate." in 2005 within hours of publishing Ken Wark's Gamer Theory with a space just to the right of his text for comments, a lively conversation emerged in the margin between Ken and his readers and amongst the readers themselves -- the once-static page became a dynamic space for conversation.
It's very exciting to see this confirmed by The Golden Notebook experiment. If you haven't had a chance to check it out, please do. We'd love to get as much feedback as possible before a big sum up early in 2009.
Posted by bob stein on December 29, 2008 2:03 PM
Steven Harris on December 31, 2008 11:04 PM:
A place and a TIME where readers congregate. Although asynchronous discussions are, and will continue to be valuable, real time talk always trumps it.