Saturday, March 27, 2010

"When there's a bookstore it's a sign...a real sign I think...that it's a neighborhood place and not a tourist place."

Studio 360's Kurt Andersen strolled the area around New York's  High Line park with New Yorker architecture critic Paul Goldberger.

And yes. It appears that everyone in The Standard Hotel was behaving themselves while they were taping the radio though...it is a radio program so who knows.

The quote at the top of this post about a bookstore indicating that somewhere is a neighborhood place, that's from Paul Goldberger.

You know how I'm all the time talking about how cool music writers are?

I'd like to add architecture critics to the mix...and not just because he's pro-bookstore.

During the interview Goldberger talked about the fact that the road to writing about architecture was paved - for him at least - by the fact that he wasn't so great at math and maybe his drawing skills weren't so hot.

The math thing? That would be what convinced me early on that architecture was not the place for me.

Well, that and the fact that the director of the NY School of Interior Design informed me that I wasn't interested in becoming an interior designer. I was perhaps better suited to being a decorator.

And, in case the font modification isn't doing it for you...replace the word decorator with hooker and that was pretty much her tone.

But we'll just say it was the math.

Monday, March 22, 2010

What about the children?

When I started teaching it was out of a sense of duty. Of trying to figure out what it was my students might be reading outside of school and perhaps even trying to use a book or two when putting together my classes.

But you know what?

Teen lit is a scary, scary place.

And not just because it appears to be almost entirely occupied by vampires, witches, zombies, faeries and the teen girls who want to either be them, slay them or date them.

This isn't mentioning the proliferation of books about extraordinary schools where students sent away to study, find themselves befriended by a small, close group of friends, and spend the majority of their time skipping class and saving the world.

Everything is a series. It's a commitment to reading...or more accurately buying...not just one book but a half dozen or so. And then there are the movies, the product tie-ins and the games. The visuals and the pop culture excitement that makes these books "must haves" for social reasons and not necessarily because they're actual any good as...you know...literature.

It seems the publishing industry has stopped wondering if Johnny can read or not.

They just want to make sure his credit is good.