Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sunday Won't be the Same

In some ways this is a personal thing to me. I grew up largely in the DC metro area, and we always received The Washington Post. For that matter, I even delivered the paper myself for a while. Oh how I remember the heft of the Sunday edition. Oh how I remember all the stuffing of the special inserts in the pre-dawn hours out in my garage, loading up my bike and then making my wobbly way out into the still suburban streets...

Back then, and in the years to come as I went to college and grad school in the area, I took it for granted that The Book World insert was always going to be a part of that. Always had been. Always would be. Right? It told me that books were important, and that authors were interesting, and it was my go to source for knowing what literary events were on in the city each month. As a writer, I was reviewed in its pages. I watched it connect me with readers and get people out to events. Before long I also reviewed for them. It became one of my favorite sources of book news. Even now - as I've become more and more a part of the fantasy community - I was pleased to see reviews by writers like Elizabeth Hand and Jeff Vandermeer in those pages...

All of which is preamble to saying how disappointed I am that the Post has decided to drop the section. I know it's not the end of the world, and that they'll still be book coverage elsewhere in the paper, but it's no good sign.

Honestly, as I look back I realize that knowing that there was a special section on books placed an early awareness of the value of literature in me. I may not have been reading that stuff myself at the time, but I knew that books were an important enough part of people's lives that major papers made room for them. The ritual of my mom sitting on the couch on a Sunday morning with the book section folded open looked to me like part of ritual of what it meant to be an adult.

It's because of that nostalgia that I greet this news sadly. I believe the only two stand-alone book sections are now in the NY Times and the SF Chronicle. For a country this size, that seems rather pathetic. I know, though, I know... Times change. I'm all for embracing change. I just hope that it is change that's happening here - not something more dire.

It doesn't help either that Realms of Fantasy just announced it was folding completely a few days ago. Try going to their website: this is what you get.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It just means that fans, writers and reviewers will just have to work a bit harder and louder, although I'll be lying if I say that it's not worrying. But one thing is for sure - in whatever guise it appears, storytelling will never die. :-)

4:44 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

No, it hasn't died yet. It may go when we go, but not before.

11:59 AM  
Blogger A. Hartman Adams said...

Hannah S-M has a "Save ROF" page on Facebook. I bet she's not happy, as they recently picked up one of her stories.....for fall of 09! Ugh!

1:02 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Oh... I'm sorry to hear that. Hopefully, she'll get the rights back and have a story to tell as she resubmits it elsewhere...

3:26 PM  

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