Welcome to Book Think!
A book, any book, is for us a sacred object. Cervantes, who probably did not listen to everything that everyone said, read even “the torn scraps of paper in the streets.”
—Jorge Luis Borges, “On the Cult of Books”
This blog is for fellow members of the Cult of Books, which I joined as a little kid and have never once considered leaving. As cults go, it’s pretty relaxed: there are no fees (as long as you respect library due dates), no hazing rituals (unless some professor saddles you with Finnegans Wake), and very little dogma (members have spent the past forty years debating whether or not authors exist).
As much as possible, Book Think will share that spirit of freewheeling zeal. Posts will be a hodgepodge: some will offer short essays on classic literature; others will provide contemporary book news or commentary about the publishing industry. Mixed in will be digressions about book design, creative writing, and the print/digital divide.
This last topic will undoubtedly surface often, since I love physical books and am not above using the Web to wax poetic about print. (I don’t want to say wax nostalgic, although even for twentysomethings like me, that's what it’s starting to feel like.) At the same time, I'm interested more in starting good arguments than in defending a particular format. As any publisher, librarian, or Borders employee can tell you, we’re living through a topsy-turvy moment in the history of the book; it’s a little scary and a little thrilling, and I look forward to wading into the fray.
In some ways this blog will be an extension of my work as a teacher, but for the most part it will be an extension of my work as a student. Writing about books is a way of thinking through them, often more carefully than you otherwise would or could. I look forward to hearing, and learning, from readers throughout that process.
Mainly, this blog will try to provide what its author loves most: something good to read. Again, welcome to Book Think, and enjoy.
[Photo credit: flickr, user UofSLibrary.]
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Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Journalism got a big wake up call in 2016. Can we be optimistic about the future of media?
- "[T]o have a democracy that thrives and actually that manages to stay alive at all, you need regular citizens being able to get good, solid information," says Craig Newmark.
- The only constructive way to deal with fake news? Support trustworthy media. In 2018, Newmark was announced as a major donor of two new media organizations, The City, which will report on New York City-area stories which may have otherwise gone unreported, and The Markup, which will report on technology.
- Greater transparency of fact-checking within media organizations could help confront and correct fake news. Organizations already exist to make media more trustworthy — are we using them? There's The Trust Project, International Fact-Checkers Network, and Tech & Check.
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