This Is Not the End of the Book: Two Great Men Discuss Our Digital Future

Jean-Claude Carri%C3%A8re and Umberto Eco as told to Jean-Phillippe de Tonac, trans. from the French by Polly McClean. Northwestern Univ., $24.95 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-8101-2747-0
The table of contents for this book-length conversation between Carrière and Eco, both distinguished writers and collectors of antiquarian books, presents (to an even greater degree than most tables of contents do) a microcosmic view of what's to come: "The book will never die"; "There is nothing more ephemeral than long-term media formats"; "Do we need to know the name of every soldier at the Battle of Waterloo?". The authors range in discussion from why they find stupidity appealing to the niceties of dating antiquarian books. The dialogue is almost oppressively witty and warm but expect few new insights about the crisis of publishing or our digital future as readers. Eco and Carrière ramble with much charm but seem to have been laxly edited. The conversation is too aware of itself as the product of "great men" and blind to some of its own fetishistic cant about the "sacredness of the book." (Oct.)   
Reviewed on: 10/29/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
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