Friday, October 31, 2008

The Golden Notebook Project

Bob Stein, director of the Institute for the Future of the Book, alerts us to a very interesting experiment in close reading, The Golden Notebook Project. Beginning on 10th November, seven women will read Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook, making comments in the 'margin' in order, as I understand it, to conduct a progressive web-based discussion in line with the reading as part of an ongoing investigation into the ways in which the web interfaces with our reading. The comments will be made in a group blog, and the public will be able to read along and join in the discussion.

His email states:
The idea for the project arose out of my experience re-reading the novel in the summer of 2007 just before Lessing won the Nobel Prize for literature. The Golden Notebook was one of the two or three most influential books of my youth and I decided I wanted to "try it on" again after so many years. It turned out to be one of the most interesting reading experiences of my life. With an interval of thirty-seven years the lens of perception was so different; things that stood out the first-time around were now of lesser importance, and entire themes I missed the first time came front and center. When I told my younger colleagues what I was reading, I was surprised that not one of them had read it, not even the ones with degrees in English literature. It occurred to me that it would be very interesting to eavesdrop on a conversation between two readers, one under thirty, one over fifty or sixty, in which they react to the book and to each other's reactions. And then of course I realized that we now actually have the technology to do just that.
Should you wish to participate, the book is available online, but Stein suggests readers obtain printed copies:
This is not essentially an experiment in online reading itself. Although the online version of the text is quite readable, for now, we believe books made of paper still have a substantial advantage over the screen for sustained reading of a linear narrative.

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