Where I’m reading from: The changing world of books by Tim Parks – New York Review Books, 2015; first published in 2014.
I enjoyed the first two parts of the book – “The world around the book” and “The book in the world” – more than the latter two – “The writer’s world” and “Writing across worlds”. Perhaps because I am an ordinary reader more than a writer and translator it was easier for me to feel connected with what Tim Parks has to say about reading than with what he talks about when he touches on the more sophisticated craft of writing and especially that of translation.
Overall I find the book very thought-provoking. It can push an ordinary reader/writer/translator to look beyond his/her ordinary experiences by posing a lot of good questions. Going through the book readers can become more aware of what may lie behind our seemingly natural ways of reading, writing, translation, and thinking about books, including some biases created by a globalized world of book making and mainstream culture(s) of reading. What the author talks about in this book is not only worth noticing but also thinking further than what he’s written; all topics are good for discussion and further analysis.
However, the book lacks a bit of blend as a coherent discussion. This might be because it is a put-together of a number of independent articles Tim Parks has written here and there: the endings of many essays are really more an end to themselves than a link to the next, which sometimes makes the book difficult to follow. On the other hand, this is a book you can start reading, or reread, from anywhere you like.