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Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times: A Collection of All Original Essays from Today's (and Tomorrow's) Young Authors on the State of the Art --and the Art of the Hustle--in the Age of Information Overload
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Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times: A Collection of All Original Essays from Today's (and Tomorrow's) Young Authors on the State of the Art --and the Art of the Hustle--in the Age of Information Overload

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3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  154 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
An anthology of original essays from our most intriguing young writers, Bookmark Now boldly addresses the significance of the production of literature in the twenty-first century. Or simply, “How do we talk about writing and reading in an age where they both seem almost quaint?”The book features authors in their twenties and thirties—those raised when TV, video games, and ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 25th 2005 by Basic Books (first published May 24th 2005)
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David
Dec 15, 2008 David rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2008
An anthology where writers inspect their navels and brood about how hard it is to be a writer in these "unreaderly times".

Hmmm. What's the appropriate response to such an enormous bolus of self-absorbed whining? How about "Cry me a f**ing river!".

Oh, not all of the pieces are dreadful. Sure, there is the expected dreck from the inexcusable, untalented pond scum that is Neal Pollock. Vacuous inanities from people I had never heard of before reading this book, but now know to avoid: Glen David G
...more
Ryan Chapman
Jul 03, 2008 Ryan Chapman rated it liked it
Recommended to Ryan by: Steve
Shelves: nonfiction, essays
These essays don't have much in common, and in fact the book already feels slightly dated at times. I guess that's what you get with a 2004 collection nominally concerning the digital landscape with respect to literature.

Does this mean it's not worth reading? Hardly. In fact, I nominate Kevin Smokler to take over the curatorship of Best American Non-Required Reading if and when Dave Eggers quits. Smokler's amassed an impressive group of essays from an (only slightly) heterogeneous pool of autho
...more
Susabelle Kelmer
Aug 19, 2008 Susabelle Kelmer rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: writers, readers
Unfortunately, some of this book is really out-dated just because it talks about the Internet, and we all know how fast things change there.

That being said, ANYONE who wants to write anything should take the time to at least read the introduction to this book. Amazing insight and incredible ideas will drag you in and make you think about writing, and reading, in a whole new way.

Worth the read. Wish I'd read it in 2005 when it came out.
John Bastin
Dec 11, 2012 John Bastin rated it really liked it
A great book; a collection of essays from a number of different authors commenting on many different points and counterpoints on the act of writing. The reason they do it, the how and where of doing it, and the results of doing it from many different perspectives.

It's a fascinating read. The back of the book contains lists of the authors' books, their blogs, other blogs about writing and other stuff. I'll be in front of my computer for days, exploring all of the worlds to which this book has off
...more
Shane
Feb 16, 2009 Shane rated it liked it
A fresh perspective of writers who average 40 years of age ( or younger.) What I learned:
1) Blogging : from the early days of Pamie.com when there were so few bloggers out there that pioneers like Pamie built up huge followings, to the blogger echoing and exhaustion of recent bloggers who are contemplating stopping altogether or printing their blogs on paper for distribution. We seem to go full circle on these newer paradigms of the same essence - i.e. writing!
2) Other new entrants: hip-hop as p
...more
Kamal
Jul 23, 2013 Kamal rated it really liked it
As an assessment of the condition of publishing and writing in the 21st century, so-called "Unreaderly Times", this book delivers on its promises, a tall order, indeed. But it does so in unexpected ways and engaging ways. It seems like a lot of people read this book expecting academic or philosophical debates about the much touted "demise of the book" and the much lamented fact[?] that Americans are illiterate somnambulists trudging through a stupor to text messages and video games--at least acc ...more
Caleb Ross
Apr 30, 2009 Caleb Ross rated it liked it
Unfortunately, Bookmark Now fails to deliver what its jacket copy promises. We’re told that this collection of essays will provide reflection on the much touted probability of the book as a doomed medium, and reading as a doomed vehicle. What we get is a series of, too often self-congratulating, essays on writers and their personal coming-to of writing as a passion and/or career. There’s not much introspection or exploration to be found.

There is, however, some amount of hope. For those fearful o
...more
Cameron Wiggins
Nov 30, 2011 Cameron Wiggins rated it liked it
This book is a book that Kevin Smokler compiled and edited of articles by authors about writitng. The book ranges from very good to not very good, no fault to Kevin's. He tried to put together a great book. The concept was there, and most of the writing was, too. A few of the essays just fell flat, that's all. However, most of the stories were good, and I would recomend this book to be read by friends. Essays such as Tara Bray Smith's "Marginalia and Other Crimes", Tracy Chevelalier's "Lying to ...more
Nathanael Booth
Mar 22, 2010 Nathanael Booth rated it liked it
I bought and read this book hoping that it would consist of meditations on the state of literature in the Aughts—what with the onset of print-on-demand and the open-sourcing of everything. The book turned out to be more and less than what I hoped: more, because the essays range across a wider field and cover topics as varied as high school spoken word performance art and “McSweeney’s Internet Tendency”—and less, because for all the miles and miles of width, there was perhaps half and inch in dep ...more
Devin
Oct 11, 2008 Devin rated it liked it
Recommends it for: bloggers, writers
As a collection of essays about writing in the "Age of Information Overload" this one is forgivably uneven. The often personal accounts of self discovery as writers - often by falling into it through online activity - make this worth reading. The unchanging demeanor of writing and having a writer's temperament set against a technologically fluid environment makes for compelling reading. Some of these essays - writings about writing - do fall into a trap of being clever to the point of obscuring ...more
Amanda
Jan 14, 2012 Amanda rated it liked it
Most of the essays in this collection contend that the view of the modern state of literature and literacy is more dire than it needs to be & that as people, we are in fact just where we should be based on the development of our culture and the ways that literature responds to the period in which it's formed. However, while the authors seemed to pretty much agree, I felt that the content they described pointed in the opposite direction, especially when one of the essays pointed out that it's ...more
Joanna
Jul 18, 2008 Joanna rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-on-books
I like the subtitle to my edition better: Writing in the Age of Information Overload. The primary point that I am taking away from this book is the conviction that READING is not on the decline, even if buying books is. It's a collection of short essays on what it's like to be a writer "now" which feels hopelessly dated and destined to be remaindered as obsolete in no time. However, the essays themselves are quite good, most of them, and jumble together in the slim volume fairly amicably. They m ...more
Jeannen
Feb 25, 2008 Jeannen rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A collection of original essays from young authors – young as in early forties or under. The book is broken into different sections – how the author came to writing, what his or her writing process is like, and then some quite varied pieces on various aspects of reading and writing. When I first started reading this I thought – uneven, this isn’t going to make it onto the keeper shelf. But I ended up plowing my way right through it, interested in what most of the authors had to say, and wanting ...more
Lauren Albert
Oct 11, 2009 Lauren Albert rated it really liked it
It's hard to rate an anthology--obviously each piece should bear its own rating. But there were some very good essays in here. Try out Neal Pollack's essay "Her Dark Silent Cowboy No More," for example. His description of how he invited hate mail-writers to put their hate into fiction so that he could publish it is hilarious. For those of you familiar with "McSweenyism"--the writing and writers associated with McSweeney and The Believer, read "The McEggers Tang Clan," poking fun at the phenomeno ...more
Bad Tim
Aug 19, 2008 Bad Tim rated it really liked it
twenty three essays and a poem, some insightful, some irrelevant, some irreverent, are all very well-written; and some of them are downright fun to read.

i'm still scratching my head over it including three takes on hispanic culture in such a limited anthology, especially when the only other subculture it directly addressed was written from a gay male perspective. the last of the three hispanic essays, though, was a refreshing voice speaking as just another american, rather than laboring over min
...more
Aja Marsh
Jul 31, 2012 Aja Marsh rated it really liked it
Shelves: things-i-found
it took me awhile to read it, but it was one of those nice random finds at the library. i wish i'd read it closer to when it came out, as reading a book in 2012 written in 2004 talking about the future of writing in the time of the internet seems a bit antiquated, but i still enjoyed reading all of the different voices and how they came to writing or their thoughts-- it's introduced me to quite a few writers i'd like to check out.
Jillian
Jan 31, 2010 Jillian rated it it was amazing
Excellent collection of writers on writing. All of the selections are enjoyable, but my favorites are Glen David Gold on googling himself, Dan Kennedy on the great void between publishing a first novel and writing a second, and Paul Collins on his quest to read through every issue of Notes and Queries, starting back in the mid-1800s when it was decidedly more quirky, inclusive, and interesting than the scholarly publication it became.
Lauren
Apr 28, 2009 Lauren rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-on-trips
My rating isn't so much a reflection on the quality of the book and the writing, as it is just a way of saying that it wasn't right for me. I think if I was trying to be a writer or in the middle of crafting some great novel, the essays in this book would be more appealing. But I mostly found myself skimming them, hoping for more about the experience of being an author versus the experience of struggling to write.
Tyler Malone
Jul 31, 2011 Tyler Malone rated it it was ok
The anti-MFA mindset in these essays is unnerving. Other than flickers of hope these writers have in themselves, the other only other motif is anti-intellectual and opposition to graduate school nonsense. If these witless sentiments weren't in every other essay, and only one or two, it probably wouldn't bother me as much.
Loyd
Aug 04, 2009 Loyd rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a nicely done collection of original essays about reading in the digital age. Neal Pollack delivers his usual screed, Glen Alan Gould confesses that he relentlessly Googles himself (I think I'll do that right now), and McSweeney's and Dave Eggars receive both praises and a comeuppance. Well worth reading, even in good 'ol book form.
Amanda
Jan 22, 2008 Amanda rated it liked it
An intriguing collection of essays about writing, reading, where books are headed and the changes technology has wrought on the literary world. I really enjoyed it, especially because the book does not take on the popular "books are on a slow death spiral" theory, but discusses how they are changing, but for the better.
Faith-Anne
Jul 02, 2008 Faith-Anne rated it liked it
Some of these essays were really enlightening. In other essays included in the collection I felt like strangling the authors. It's definitely worth a read, even if some of the essays are awful. The ones that are good are wonderfully written.
Nash Tysmans
Found at a bargain bookshop. Interesting observations about writing and storytelling in the tech age. I just bemoan the fact that the time's whooshed by too quickly for the books ideas to settle. There are some nuggets here though--and some really well-crafted essays.
Rae
Oct 23, 2012 Rae rated it liked it
Not quite what I expected, but mostly enjoyable nonetheless. About half of these essays resonated with me. I might just be too old for the other half :)

I am especially fond of Tracy Chevalier's essay on the reading experience and Tara Bray Smith's essay on marginalia.



Allison
Feb 03, 2012 Allison rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this - some more than others, but on the whole it was great. Nice variety and cross-section of writers, different viewpoints and perspectives and some great humour. I've given up on trying to get published, so maybe that helped - I was just reading it for fun, not tips.
SmarterLilac
Feb 14, 2009 SmarterLilac rated it it was amazing
I looooooved this one. Great and optimistic essays about the future of the writer's life.
Jean Hoffmann
Aug 08, 2008 Jean Hoffmann rated it it was amazing
Love this compilation of essays that combat the notion that young people are not reading these days. Picked it up from the $2 table at B & N--grab one if you can.
Diane
Jul 06, 2011 Diane rated it liked it
It was OK. The essays were interesting. But I'm disinclined to believe that writing is any harder now, as a profession, than it ever was.
Kaesa
Kaesa rated it really liked it
Jan 20, 2012
Hayley
Hayley rated it liked it
May 31, 2009
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Kevin Smokler is the author of "Brat Pack America: A Love Letter to 80s Teen Movies" (2016) the essay collection "Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Books you Haven't Touched Since High School" (Prometheus Books, Feb. 2013) and the editor of "Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times," A San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book of 2005. His essays on pop culture have appeared in the LA Times, ...more
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