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Dr Alistair Brown | Associate lecturer in English Literature; researching video games and literature

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Through exploring the psychopathology of Capgras syndrome, in which a patient mistakes a loved one for an imposter, The Echo Maker offers a sustained meditation on the ways in which we project our own problems onto other people. As a reflection on the mysteries of consciousness, the novel offers some interesting if not especially new insights into the fuzzy boundaries between scientific and literary interpretations of the mind. Read more


Reading in the Bath

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I have just caught the end of a piece on the radio about the popularity of the new e-book readers over Christmas. One of the commentators suggested that the key problem with them is that you cannot read with them in the bath. This reiterates a complaint I first heard from Margaret Atwood, and have heard a couple of other times since. So it seems like the Luddites are singing to a common tune in their wash rooms: if you cannot scrub your back in the bathtub whilst reading War and Peace, one of life's little pleasures has been lost.

But, I ask you, have you ever taken a book to the bath with you? The thought of all those bubbles mixing with the pages of a paperback to give a soap-stained Oliver Twist, or of adding to Anna Karina's miseries by sopping her in dirty water, puts me off. Get too absorbed by Gissing, and you too might join grubby street by forgetting to scrub your armpits. And who has baths in these environmentally conscious and time-pressed days anyway? Perhaps the tune should change: e-book readers will never catch on unless you can take them paragliding over the dusty Sahara without them breaking if you drop them in the sand.

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Posted by Alistair at 7:53 am

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