Book Magpie: Best of the Web, 18 Oct 2013
Book Magpie returns with its tail feather firmly between its legs.
I wish my absence could be explained by an Odyssian quest. Book Magpie flying above stormy seas, fighting to change the world’s mind about the Eurasian Magpie’s propensity to bring ill fortune. Alas, unlike Thug Note’s analysis of Homer’s Odyssey [4:45], "stuff didn’t get real in Ithaca", Book Magpie’s just been, well, busy really.
The curse of having an extensive knowledge of the booklovin’ internet, a ferocious intellect and, well, the ability to fly, means Book Magpie can get distracted for long periods.
When you see a link with the top 9 cities for detective travel on CNN, or Buzzfeed's challenge about the bookstores you need to see before you die, you think, "Wow, I’ll sign up for the Ryanair eNewsletter and book early during the next sale." When Book Magpie sees the same link all I do is eat something, spend a reasonable time in front of the mirror and fly.
That's not the whole story though. I'll come clean (unlike that annoying person at a party who says, “Oh, I don’t have TV. It’s such, y’know, a drug”, even though they know and you know that they were on Facebook for three-plus hours the night before), part of my prolonged absence can be explained by the excessive time Book Magpie spends on the internet.
Indeed, the sheer addictive nature of l‘internet has led Book Magpie to question whether literary heavyweights like Hemingway, Woolf or Tolstoy could have written For Whom the Bell Tolls, To the Lighthouse or Anna Karenina in a world with social media or would they have ended up like this? Indeed, with GIF retellings of Anna Karenina existing online do we need to read it anyway?
YES WE DO. Of course we bally well do.
Used badly, the internet can be like eating Caesar salad without the lettuce. One must self-moderate and add mind nutrition. Try tucking into things like the brief history of young adult literature; listen to the Margaret Atwood Book Talk podcast; or create a shopping list of Scottish-themed books.
Then it’s time for the fatty croutons, chicken and cheese sauce.
One can indulge guilt-free in these imagined Facebook profiles for Game of Thrones characters; guffaw at these 15 false covers for Morrissey’s autobiography; and use this ingenious flowchart to spend undue amounts of time planning one's literary Halloween costume.
And, when you’re done with your internet calorie rush, you can bring yourself down gently with the healthy-ish pursuit of bookshelf ogling starting with these items repurposed as bookshelves on Flavorwire or this melting Dutch bookshelf.