Opening the Mind’s Eye

Reading by ear allows for a variety of other activities likely to require sight—running, driving, frosting birthday cakes—or no physical access to sight at all—after all, American audiobook publishing was born of the needs of blind readers. However, as with most things in life, there is a middle way: the opportunity for the sighted, or those with memory of the capacity to engage the world with their eyes, to use no organ other than ears and imagination to conjure the visual elements of what is being read. Eyes can be closed so that even the more or less automatic use of physical vision to track print across a page or screen comes out of play.

To read with the ears in this state of unaccompanied eye input is to give an open field to the images and colors the words and phrasings themselves evoke in the mind. This allows the full measure of works rich in such visual recreations to take center stage within, an experience that can be, in seriousness as well as punnery, heady and exhilarating.

Photo by Irina of Edward Hopper’s House at Dusk

A fine example of this involves an anthology of short stories commissioned to celebrate individual paintings by Edward Hopper. In Sunlight or In Shadow (print Pegasus Books, 2016) was a project of author and demonstrably gifted anthology editor Lawrence Block and comprises 17 short stories by the likes of Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Gail Levin, and other well known, critically acclaimed authors. Reading these tales of cravenness, fantastical mystery, and regret would be a rich experience in itself. Continue reading Opening the Mind’s Eye

Frankfurt Book Fair 2017: Cultural, economical, political

According to a press release NSR received from the 2017 Frankfurter Buchmesse, the world’s largest Book Fair ended yesterday with some positive numbers:

  • 286,425 visitors from over 150 countries
  • 3 percent increase in attendance over 2016
  • 7,300 exhibitors from 102 countries
  • a total of 4,000 events  over the course of six days
  • 500 tables sold at the Literary Agents and Scouts Centre (LitAg), a new record
  • 6.5 percent more visitors over the weekend (when the Fair is open to the public)

More from the press release summing up this year’s Fair:

The opening of the Frankfurter Buchmesse by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron sent a strong signal highlighting a Europe of culture. Various other politicians attended the fair, including French Culture Minister Françoise Nyssen, German Commissioner for Culture and the Media Monika Grütters, German Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Andrea Nahles, German SPD Party Leader Martin Schulz, and Gregor Gysi, President of the European Left. The fair was overshadowed by confrontations between left- and right-wing groups. Continue reading Frankfurt Book Fair 2017: Cultural, economical, political