Just a quick post on this news story I read today about Nobel prize winner for literature, Doris Lessing, and her tirade against the internet.
Doris Lessing is one of my favourite novelists, The grass is singing being a particular favourite of mine. And I have a lot of respect for her views on quality literature and her reverence for the printed word in books.
However, I don’t agree that because there is a lot of junk on the internet that this is something unique to the web platform. After all, there are also plenty of junk books out there – it’s a matter of opinion. And opinion can probably see the difference between “quality literature” of the Lessing variety as distinct from, shall we say, the Mills and Boon variety of formula publishing.
Individual preferences remain paramount so we need to look at why people read what they do and why people are spending more time on the internet than reading books (this latter point being an assertion from Doris Lessing herself).
Lessing’s contention that people today know nothing of the world is arguable. I would say that the internet has enabled a far greater reach of knowledge and information than a publishing platform based on the book. Quality will vary in both domains.
I love books and I love the internet. How I determine quality and what’s right for me is certainly up to me to decide. But I can say this to you Doris, I won’t be reading any novels of literature quality on the internet. The book is still my preferred mode of reading when it comes to that!