Monday, December 18, 2006

The "Very Short List" -- Sign up today!

There's too much stuff out there, on the internet and in the culturosphere--what if you miss something really great because you were looking at something else? You know this is causing you anxiety. Well, now you can put your mind at ease. All you have to do is sign up for Kurt Andersen's daily newsletter. Andersen is, how shall we say, ahem, a discriminating observer of the cultural scene. (Here's his c.v. if you're still considering such things in this new level-playing-field information age.) He and his colleagues at The Very Short List are willing to share with you just one gem each day, short and sweet, something that has met their rigorous quality standards.

I only signed up today, so I'm not in a position to testify to the lasting value of this newsletter. But, check this out: the site is giving away a set of Everyman's Library Classics to one lucky subscriber, and as VSL says, "It might as well be you."

This paragraph from The Very Short List (December 15) feels right at home here at Read-Think-Live:

If you fetishize books as much as we do, you probably already own some Everyman’s Library titles — those elegant volumes of literary classics that are all about bookmaking as an art form. Though we’re purveyors of little bits of light that pass fleetingly across computer screens, nothing makes us quite as happy as holding in our hands a great book printed with old-school finesse: on acid-free paper with full-cloth sewn bindings, beautiful endpapers, and ribbon markers.

Well, as a matter of fact if I were sitting at my home computer instead of in my office cubicle, I'd be able to look up and see my EL copy of Brideshead Revisited--and yes, I do love that cloth binding and especially that satin ribbon bookmark.

If the possibility of owning a hundred Everyman's Library Classics is not enough of a reason to sign up, how about this: The Very Short List defines itself with a Venn Diagram:

So what are you waiting for??

Sign up here. If you win the books, you can thank me later.


yellojkt said...

I'm gonna consider signing up for the list just because I like Kurt Andersen, but I find the whole leather bound reprints shelf filler concept pretentious (no offense, kb). I'd much rather have well-worn used paperbacks of the 'classics'. If I win the books, you can have them.

I did buy a vintage 50's era paperback of 'Pride and Prejudice' last week as a gag Christmas gift for my wife. I'm not sure she will get the joke.

Karen said...

When I was daydreaming about winning the books, I was thinking of ways I could share them, yj. Because having a hundred new books at a time would be massively guilt-inducing. I prefer to get a book and read it, and then get another one and read it. When I get too many and they pile up and I don't have time to read them, it makes me feel bad.

But yellojkt, aren't you the guy who actually owns books that you won't open because they are too valuable unread?

I like used books that have already been read when I get them, too. But I really like that ribbon placeholder. And Everyman's Library isn't leatherbound. The books are clothbound. They are built to last. Here's the note at the back of the one I own: "Everyman's Library, founded in 1906 and relaunched in 1991, aims to offer the most enduring library in the English language of the world's classics. This volume is set in the classic typefact Baskerville and printed on acid-fee, cream-wove paper with a sewn full cloth binding."

It's really not pretentious.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a trip. Following those blue clues made me think of Alice falling down a rabbit hole. Fun trip though. Thanks for the excursion.


Karen said...

Yeah, Dad, on the Achenblog we call that "gettin' linky" because the official name for the blue clues is "hyperlinks."