Friday, March 19, 2010

Well, Seraphita proved to be a wash out

I'm sure that it's not the book by Honore de Balzac itself that's bad. Instead it's the translation, done at least in 1901 and possibly before, and in the UK, that makes the book unreadable. This is what you get for using a print on demand feature from Google Books, at least this is one part of what you get. The Espresso Book Machine at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park near Seattle is wonderful for making books that would otherwise be out of print beyond belief accessible again, but since you're picking what out of print books you want yourself, there's a danger that you're going to pick wrong. Of course, all of this is based on PDFs that are widely available on the internet for free, with an entire online program built around them, so I suppose I have no one but myself to blame for not looking at it first. I'd probably have seen that there was something really wrong with the text and would have decided not to get it printed.

But hark, something good did come out of it: at Third Place Books I got "The Portable Beat Reader" for a class I'm taking next quarter at a local community college. It's one of three texts we're using along with Naked Lunch and On the Road. I'm already enjoying it even though it's at the opposite end of obscurity from where I usually swim. And reading Naked Lunch means that I'll likely end up discussing metal man eating dildos with people who were only a few years old when I read it the first time. It's strange being old.

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