Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Posts Tagged ‘The Plan of St. Gall

Science and civilization

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Over the last week, I picked up two books—at the annual Newberry Library and Oak Park Public Library book sales, which are always a high point of my year—that I’d been hoping to find for a long time. One is a single volume, Civil Engineering and Nautics, of Joseph Needham’s landmark Science and Civilization in China, which currently consists of twenty-seven huge books that I all unreasonably hope to own one day. The other is a slim fascicle, or paperbound installment from a work in progress, from Donald Knuth’s The Art of Computer Programming, which, if we’re lucky, will release its fourth volume sometime in the next decade. These two projects are rather different in scale, but remarkably similar in their conception and incubation. Needham worked on his book for close to half a century without finishing it, and Knuth has been laboring on his for even longer, with no obvious end in sight. I’ve been intrigued by such grand projects for most of my life, but I’ve become even more interested after embarking on my own venture into nonfiction. Replace “computer programming” with “science fiction” and “discovered” with “written,” and what Knuth once said in an interview gets very close to my attitude two years ago when I started writing Astounding:

At the time, everybody I knew who could write a book summarizing what was known about computer programming had discovered quite a lot of the ideas themselves…By contrast, I hadn’t really discovered anything new by myself at that point. I was just a good writer…I had this half-conceited and half-unconceited view that I could explain it more satisfactorily than the others because of my lack of bias. I didn’t have any axes to grind but my own.

Knuth concludes: “Then, of course, as I started to write things I naturally discovered one or two new things as I went, and now I am just as biased as anybody.” Which pretty sums up my experience, too.

And what really fascinates me about both projects is how monstrously these tomes grew past their projected dimensions, both in space and in time. Both Needham and Knuth thought at first that their work would fit within a single volume, and although they each expanded it to the magic number of seven, neither seems to have grasped just how long it would take. Knuth recalls:

My original motivation was to write a text about how to write compilers, so I began drafting chapters. I was seriously planning to finish the book before my son was born…In June 1965, I had finally finished the first draft of the twelve chapters. It amounted to three thousand handwritten pages of manuscript…I figured about five pages of my handwriting would be about one page of a book.

As it turned out, he was a little off: the real proportion was one and a half handwritten pages to a single page in type, which meant that he had already written two thousand pages without even getting past the subject of compilers. Needham had a similar moment of clarity. As Simon Winchester writes in his biography The Man Who Loved China:

Needham had decreed early on in the process, as he watched each volume begin to swell and threaten to burst out of its covers, that no one volume should be “too big for a man to read comfortably in his bath.” But it was happening nonetheless…One book became two, three, or four. Volume V, a special case, became not five, but thirteen formal subsidiary parts, each one of them big and complicated enough to be made into a separate, self-standing, and equally enormous new volume of its own.

It’s frankly hard to imagine reading any of these expensive books in the tub, but Needham says elsewhere, more realistically, that critics found the volumes “too heavy and bulky for meditative evening reading,” which led to the work being repeatedly subdivided.

The Art of Computer Programming was released by a commercial educational publisher, Addison-Wesley, but it isn’t surprising that most such books tend to appear at academic presses, which are the only institutions capable of sustaining a project that lasts for decades. (Their sole competition here might be the Catholic Church, which has been underwriting a critical edition of the works of St. Thomas Aquinas since 1879. They’re about halfway through.) Winchester refers in passing to “the beleaguered Cambridge University Press, which was obliged to tolerate the constant expansion of the project,” and for the full picture, you can turn to the book A Skeptic Among Scholars, by August Frugé, the director of the University of California Press. He writes of The Plan of St. Gall, a three-volume monument of scholarship that is probably the most beautiful book I own:

The St. Gall manuscript…was said in 1960 to be in semifinal draft, about one hundred and fifty pages in length. When approved by the Editorial Committee and accepted by me in 1967, it came to several hundred typed pages, about right for a single quarto volume. As the work moved through the production process during the next twelve years, we paused every now and then to call for new estimates of size and cost, and each time discovered that new sections had been added, along with a few dozen new diagrams and drawings.

At one point, concerns about cost threatened to derail the whole enterprise, and Frugé retired before the three huge folios were published. James H. Clark, his successor, saw it to completion, writing later: “But what is a university press for if not to take these kinds of risks, make these investments, and publish books that make a difference?” Aside from Knuth, one of the few comparable examples on the commercial side must be Robert Caro’s The Years of Lyndon Johnson, which was originally planned as three volumes to be written over about six years. Forty years and four books later, Caro still isn’t done, and the fact that he has been allowed to keep working at the same methodical pace is a tribute to his longtime editor Robert Gottlieb at Knopf.

And if there’s one key takeaway from the examples I’ve mentioned, it’s that none of these authors set out to devote their lives to these projects—they all thought at first that they could finish it within a few years. Knuth recalls:

It gradually dawned on me how large a project this was going to be. If I had realized that at the beginning, I wouldn’t have been foolish enough to start; I wouldn’t have dared to tackle such a thing…[But] I had collected so much material that I felt it was my duty to continue with the project even though it would take a lot longer than I had originally expected.

You also realize that you can’t explain the subject at hand without covering a lot of other material first. Caro treats his books on Johnson as windows onto such vistas as local politics, Texas, and the Senate, which is a big part of their appeal. (The equivalent in my case would be deciding that I couldn’t write the life of John W. Campbell in a comprehensible form without telling the entire history of science fiction, too, which might well be true.) Frugé, perhaps to his credit, ventures a more cynical reading:

In my skeptical and perhaps scatterbrained way, I sometimes wonder how a research scholar can work on the same project decade after decade and retain faith in its intellectual importance. Perhaps some do not, and that is why their books are never completed. But we can also observe an opposite phenomenon. As the years go by the object or document for study may swell and expand in importance until—until, for example, “The Plan of St. Gall is…one of the most fascinating creations of the human mind.”

He makes a good point. The cycle feeds on itself, with the work expanding in scope to justify the amount of time it takes. It’s human nature, and there’s something a little absurd about it. But it’s also the only way we get art, science, or civilization.

The grand projects

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The Lisle Letters

Thirty-five years ago, on October 18, 1981, the New York Times published a long article by the critic D.J.R. Bruckner. Titled “The Grand Projects,” it was a survey of what Bruckner called “the big books or projects that need decades to finish,” and which only a handful of academic publishers in the country are equipped to see from beginning to end. I first came across it in a photocopy tucked into the first volume of one of the books that it mentions, The Plan of St. Gall, the enormous study of monastic life that I bought a few years ago after dreaming about it for decades. At the time, I was just starting to collect rare and unusual books for their own sake, and I found myself using Bruckner’s article—which I recently discovered was the first piece that he ever published for the Times—as a kind of map of the territory. I purchased a copy of Howard Adelmann’s massive Marcello Malpighi and the Evolution of Embryology mostly because Bruckner said: “Go to a library and see it one day; it is wonderful just to look at.” And last week, as a treat for myself after a rough month, I finally got my hands on the six volumes of Muriel St. Clare Byrne’s The Lisle Letters, which Bruckner mentions alongside The Plan of St. Gall as one of the great triumphs of the university press. For the moment, I have everything on my list, although I suppose that Costa Rican Natural History by Daniel Janzen is beckoning from the wings.

But I’ve also found that my motives for collecting these books have changed—or at least they’ve undergone a subtle shift of emphasis. I was initially drawn to these beautiful sets, frankly, for aesthetic reasons. As the product of years or decades of collaborative work, they’re invariably gorgeous in design, typography, printing, and construction. These are books that are meant to last forever. I don’t have as much time to read for my own pleasure as I once did, so I’ve begun to treasure what I’ve elsewhere called tomes, or books so large that their unread pages feel comforting, rather than accusatory. It’s unlikely that I’ll ever have the chance to work through Marcello Malpighi from the first folio page to the last, but I’m happy just to be living in the same house with it. When I’m honest with myself, I acknowledge that it has something to do with a middlebrow fondness for how those uniform sets look when lined up on my bookshelves: it’s the same impulse that led me to pick up books as different as William T. Vollmann’s Rising Up and Rising Down and the sixteen volumes of Richard Francis Burton’s translation of The Arabian Nights. At some point, it amounts to buying books as furniture. I can’t totally defend myself from this charge, except by saying that the pleasure that they give me is one that encompasses all the senses. I like to look at them, but also to handle them, leaf through them, and sometimes even smell them. And I’ll occasionally even read them for an hour.

Marcello Malpighi and the Evolution of Embryology

Over the last year or so, however, I’ve begun to see them in another light. Now they represent an investment of time, which is invisible, but no less vast than the amount of space that they physically occupy. (You could even say that the resulting book is a projection, in three-dimensional space, of the temporal process that produced it. A big book is invariably the product of a big life.) The undisputed champion here has to be The Lisle Letters, which was the end result of fifty years of work by Muriel St. Clare Byrne. She was in her thirties when she began the project, and it was published on her eighty-sixth birthday. It’s an edited and wonderfully annotated selection of the correspondence of Arthur Plantagenet, 1st Viscount Lisle, the illegitimate son of Henry VIII. The surviving letters, which encompass one of the most eventful periods in Tudor history, were an important source for the novelist Hilary Mantel in the writing of Wolf Hall. Like most of the tomes that I love, it uses its narrow subject as an entry point into a much larger era, and I especially like Byrne’s explanation of why these particular letters are so useful. Lisle wasn’t even in England for most of it—he was Lord Deputy of Calais, on the northern coast of France. Yet he still had to manage his affairs back home, mostly through letters, which means that the correspondence preserves countless details of daily life that otherwise wouldn’t have been committed to writing. The letters had long been known to historians, but no one had ever gone through systematically and considered them as a whole. Byrne saw that somebody had to do it, and she did. And it only took her five decades.

It’s the time and effort involved that fascinates me now, even more than the tangible pleasures of the books themselves. In some ways, these are just different aspects of the same thing: the academic presses, which can afford to break even or even lose money on monumental projects, can provide scholars with the time they need, and they can publish works intended for only a few thousand readers with the resources they deserve. Occasionally, you see the same impulse in mainstream publishing: Robert Caro’s biography of Lyndon Johnson sometimes seems less like a commercial enterprise than a public service. (When asked in that wonderful profile by Charles McGrath if Caro’s books were profitable, Sonny Mehta, the head of Knopf, paused and said: “They will be, because there is nothing like them.”) In the end, Caro will have spent as much time on Johnson as Byrne did on Lisle, and the fact that he did it outside the university system is equally remarkable. It’s no accident, of course, that I’ve begun to think in these terms after embarking on a big nonfiction project of my own. Astounding can’t compare to any of these books in size: it’s supposed to appeal to a wide audience, and there are certain constraints in length that are written right into the contract. I don’t have decades to write it, either. When all is said and done, I’ll probably end up devoting three years to it, which isn’t trivial, but it isn’t a lifetime. But I keep these books around to remind me of the devotion and obsessiveness that such projects require. We desperately need authors and publishers like this. And whenever I feel overwhelmed by the work that lies ahead, I just have to ask myself what Caro—or Muriel St. Clare Byrne—would do.

An unread life

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The author's library

A few months ago, I was proudly showing off my home library to a friend when he asked a version of a question I’ve often heard before: “When I see most people with libraries like this, I assume they haven’t read the books. But you’ve read most of these—right?” In response, I may have stammered a little. No, I said, I haven’t read them all, but they’re all here for a reason. Each book fits into its own particular niche, I’ve grazed in each one, and they’re all important to me. If I’d been in a different mood, I might have quoted Umberto Eco’s testy reply to similar queries:

The visitor enters and says, “What a lot of books! Have you read them all?” At first I thought that the question characterized only people who had scant familiarity with books, people accustomed to seeing a couple of shelves with five paperback mysteries and a children’s encyclopedia, bought in installments. But experience has taught me that the same words can be uttered also by people above suspicion. It could be said that they are still people who consider a bookshelf as a mere storage place for already-read books and do not think of the library as a working tool.

In other words, as Nassim Nicholas Taleb notes, while also citing Eco: “Read books are far less valuable than unread ones.” Which isn’t to say that I’ll simply buy a book and stick it on the shelf to admire. Whenever I acquire a new book, I give it a good browse, just enough to give me an idea of what I really have, and then I file it away, content in the knowledge that when I need to dig deeper, it’ll be there. Or at least that’s the rule I try to follow. In practice, I’ve found myself accumulating books by certain authors—Lewis Mumford, for instance—on a vague suspicion that they’re going to come in handy one day, and others that force themselves on my attention simply because of an alluring look and a reasonable price. In other cases, I’m drawn to books primarily by what they represent: a commitment to a single overwhelming idea, which is something I value without being able to replicate. A book like The Plan of St. Gall or Marcello Malpighi and the Evolution of Embryology is the product of decades of singleminded work, and as a writer who is happiest when switching frequently between projects, I keep them around as a reminder of a different, and maybe better, way of art and thought.

The author's library, temporarily unshelved

But there’s no question that I browse more than I read these days. Part of this has to do with the shape my life has taken: between an active toddler and my own unwritten pages, it’s hard to find time to sit down with a book for more than half an hour at a stretch. My criteria, in fact, for buying new books has shifted slightly ever since my daughter was born. At the moment, I tend to buy books that I’ll be glad to own even if I don’t read them from cover to cover, which favors titles that are either inherently browsable—where I can turn to a random page in the middle and find something enlightening or diverting—or that have strong aesthetic interest in themselves. The latter encompasses lovely little paperbacks as much as their big leatherbound brothers, but it’s especially why I’m so taken by the idea of the tome. When a book is large enough, the pressure to get through all of it is correspondingly reduced: The Plan of St. Gall seems content to hang around forever as a permanent presence, to be dipped into as often or rarely as I want, rather than plowed through from first volume to last. There comes a point when a book’s sheer size ceases to be formidable and becomes almost comforting in its insistence on pages unread and byways unexplored.

This may be why I’ve been increasingly drawn to rare books like this as my free time has grown ever more contracted. If I blow $200 on St. Gall or $80 on Marcello Malpighi, you shouldn’t be misled into thinking I have oodles of disposable cash; really, they’re just about all I treat myself to these days, aside from the occasional album. When I’m tempted to buy a video game or Blu-ray, there’s a reasonable voice in my head that asks when, exactly, I think I’ll get around to playing or watching it. With a book, I’ve got my answer ready: I’ll leaf through it a little now, then save the rest for the same undefined retirement home in which I’ll finally read all of Gibbon. In the meantime, my unread books give me a satisfaction—as well as occasional injections of pleasure, whenever I remember to take one down from the shelf for a few minutes—that I don’t feel from an unwatched movie or unplayed game. It isn’t clear to me if the result is a working tool, as Eco would say, or a stealth form of vanity, but it probably lies somewhere in the middle. The most generous interpretation is that it’s a monument to possibility, a collection of paths I can take whenever I like. It may not be today, or even in this lifetime. But they’re still a part of the life I have now.

Written by nevalalee

October 14, 2014 at 9:48 am

The Plan of St. Gall and the sacred act of reading

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The Plan of St. Gall

I’ve wanted my own copy of The Plan of St. Gall ever since reading about it two decades ago in The Whole Earth Catalog, which called it “the most beautiful book produced anywhere in a generation or two.” Because of its rarity and expense—only 2,500 copies were ever printed, and used editions generally go for $300 and more—I never seriously thought I’d own it, although I’ve browsed through it lovingly at the old Shakespeare & Co. bookstore in Berkeley. After literally saving my pennies and tracking it down online at a reasonable price at the Brattle Book Shop in Boston, though, I decided to treat myself for my upcoming birthday, and it finally arrived last week. The result is worth the price and more: it’s the most physically gorgeous book I’ve ever seen, with three enormous folio volumes printed on exquisite paper, lovely layout and typography, and a thousand immaculate illustrations. Even if the subject matter weren’t in my wheelhouse, I’d still love it as an example of the bookmaker’s art, but its contents are even more fascinating, touching on many ideas and issues close to my heart, including monasticism, medieval life, vernacular architecture, and how the deep interpretation of text and image can provide a window on the entire world.

The Plan of St. Gall itself is an architectural blueprint drawn on a piece of parchment about 45 by 31 inches in size, dating from around the year 816, that has been preserved ever since at the Abbey Library of St. Gall in Switzerland. It depicts an ideal monastery, complete with church, housing for the abbot and monks, buildings for guests and servants, gardens, workshops, privies, even a henhouse, and although it was never actually built, it served as kind of a paradigm for what monastic architecture could be. (The author of the plan is unknown, although it was likely commissioned by Haito, the abbot of Reichenau.) Using the plan as a starting point, the late authors Walter Horn and Ernest Born—both faculty members at UC Berkeley—have meticulously reconstructed how the building complex would have appeared, as well as what the lives of the monks there would have been like, in a remarkable feat of historical and architectural detective work. Not surprisingly, this requires the mastery and assimilation of an insane amount of material. If you want to learn more about the properties of parchment, barrel-making, wine and beer production, ecclesiastical design, bleeding, water management, timekeeping, horticulture, livestock, and more, it’s all here, with a density of content that goes all the way from the title page to the footnotes and index.

Map from The Plan of St. Gall

And the story behind the book is just as fascinating. It was originally conceived in the sixties as a modest project for the university press in Berkeley, covering a few hundred pages and three years of work. When it was finally published in 1979, it had taken fifteen years, with countless cost overruns and delays, thanks largely to Born’s obsessive perfectionism over the illustrations and design, as well as the project’s constantly expanding ambitions. It led to a highly publicized war of memos between the authors and August Fregé, the director of the press, who threatened to shut down production and retired long before the book itself ever saw the light of day. In his memoir A Skeptic Among Scholars, Fregé comes off as a little shellshocked by the experience, and he seems to think that Horn and Born exaggerated the importance of the plan in their own minds to justify creating such a monument. Yet if we think of the plan as a lens through which to examine the whole of life in the Middle Ages, it’s hard to imagine a better one. It’s a subject that deserves three big volumes and more, and it only could have been published by a university press. (In the end, according to a piece in the New York Times, the book cost $489,000 to produce and brought in $500,000 in sales, meaning that it barely broke even, even before you factor in the thousands of hours of work it required.)

When I look at proudly it on my office shelf now, it strikes me as exactly the kind of book we need, at a time when the physical act of reading seems especially vulnerable. Engaging with The Plan of St. Gall compels the reader to take on the role of a monk: it’s too large to be held comfortably on one’s lap, so ideally, you’d read it on a lectern, like the one provided to the reader who recited verses of scripture to the monks at every meal. (Fregé refers to it as “the only three-lectern book the Press will ever publish.”) As a result, you study it with special intensity, devoting an extra degree of attention to every page, to the point where the book ultimately embodies its own message. Think of it as the importance of humanism, the life of ideas, or the preservation of knowledge over time: whatever you call it, it’s a reflection of the same impulse that allowed the plan itself to survive over so many centuries. Reading it, you feel a sense of continuity with the unknown monk who traced it over a millennium ago, as well as all the others who kept it safe, and with Horn, Born, and those influenced by their example, including Christopher Alexander. As a reviewer wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times, it’s “an eloquent and exultant answer to those who still believe that print will soon give way to electronics.” That was written in 1980—and it’s a message that I’m glad this book, and all books that remember they were once sacred objects, is still around to provide.

Written by nevalalee

May 28, 2014 at 9:50 am

Berkeley on my mind

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I was born in Castro Valley, California, a pleasant but nondescript part of the Bay Area whose greatest attraction to me, at least in my teenage years, was that it was only a forty minute BART ride away from downtown Berkeley. Growing up, I assumed that I would attend college there, and although my education took me a bit farther afield, I still spent many of the weekend and summer afternoons of my adolescence exploring the areas around Telegraph and Shattuck. And though I haven’t lived in the Bay Area for more than a decade now, I’ve been shaped by Berkeley in ways I’m only now beginning to realize, not so much the Berkeley of my own childhood as a version in my imagination, which reached its ideal shape—at least in the story that I like to tell myself—in the ten years or so before I was born.

The landmark that connected my imaginary Berkeley with the one I explored as a teenager was the old UC Theater. This was the theater where Werner Herzog ate his shoe, where an ongoing festival of Hong Kong movies ran every Thursday for years, and where The Rocky Horror Picture Show played at midnight (never seen, alas, by me). It’s also where I had many of my favorite movie memories: I saw the complete Indiana Jones trilogy here, and Judy Garland in A Star is Born, and Lawrence of Arabia, and Spike & Mike’s Sick & Twisted Festival. I can remember John Waters’s anti-smoking announcement nearly word for word. And the theater’s closing ten years ago remains one of the small, indelible tragedies of my life. If Berkeley can’t sustain a place like this, I asked myself, then how are art house revival theaters supposed to survive anywhere? (The similar struggles of the Brattle in Cambridge have only increased my pessimism.)

So what else resides in the Berkeley of my imagination? There’s Chez Panisse, of course, where Alice Waters helped Herzog cook his shoe (slowly, in garlic and duck fat). There’s the Whole Earth Catalog, which was rooted in Sausalito but whose heart belongs in Berkeley. There’s the epic Plan of St. Gall project of Walter Horn and Ernest Born, which evolved concurrently with Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language—the best, most essential book of the last fifty years, and one utterly saturated by its time and place. There’s Robert Anton Wilson, in his house in the hills above the Berkeley campus. And, not incidentally, there are also my parents, who would have been around my own age—or even somewhat younger—at the time I’m talking about.

Like I said, I haven’t lived in the Bay Area in a long time. And the Berkeley I’m describing may never have existed, except in my own mind. But as I look back at my life, which has taken me to some extraordinary places—Harvard, New York, Chicago, and beyond—I feel as if my philosophy, such as it is, was really shaped here. Calling it a “philosophy” might be taking it too far: it’s really nothing more than an interest in whole systems, an inclination toward voluntary simplicity (in life, not in thought), and a nose for the weird, esoteric, and neglected. It’s an instinct that sends me regularly to used bookstores, always trying to recreate my first experience of Moe’s. And whatever it is, it has outlasted all kinds of other, passing infatuations, so that I still carry a bit of Berkeley with me wherever I go.

Literary obsolescence and the Codex Ipadianus

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Today’s AV Club Q&A centers on a subject lovingly calculated to bring up all kinds of nostalgic nerdery: the works of art that we still keep in obsolete formats, whether cassette tapes, reel to reels, Nintendo cartridges, or any other medium consigned to history’s dustbin. Looking at the responses is enough to make me wistful for all the media I’ve lost: the mix tapes, the VHS copies of X-Files episodes (especially the beloved “Jose Chung/Pusher” combo), the Twin Peaks finale taped off its original airing, and, more than anything else, my own adolescent novels and short stories, which were saved on 5 1/4″ floppy discs and now lost forever. Everyone of a certain age, I imagine, has a similar list, which is something that the next generation will probably never understand, once all physical media have become obsolete by definition.

Of course, there’s one form of obsolete media I haven’t mentioned yet, and all of our houses are full of them: books. And my own shelves look particularly obsolete. Probably half of the books I own were picked up at secondhand bookstores, with their inimitable smell of must and mildew, and I can’t look at them now without smiling at so many old friends: The Road to Xanadu, The Campaigns of Napoleon, an incomplete set of The Story of Civilization (missing only Our Oriental Heritage and The Reformation, neither of which I feel especially inclined to track down), The Next Whole Earth Catalog, The Plan of St. Gall in Brief, Philippe Duboy’s Lequeu, bound copies of the Skeptical Inquirer, Patridge’s Slang (stuffed with clippings and a red carrying cord by its previous, unknown owner), and, of course, the Codex Seraphinianus.

These days, it’s especially bittersweet to regard these shelves, because I’ve just done something that would have seemed unthinkable even a few months ago: I’ve given in and ordered an iPad. (It won’t arrive for another three weeks, but Apple, rather cruelly, cheerfully informs me that the cover has already shipped.) I’m planning to use it mostly for web browsing, but there’s no avoiding the fact that by purchasing it, I’ve essentially bought an e-book reader as well. And while I don’t expect to cut down on my bookstore visits anytime soon, on the occasions when I do buy a new book, it seems likely that I’ll be going the digital route. It’s cheaper, more convenient, and, as my wife will tell you, our shelves at home are already overstuffed. It makes sense—but it also makes me sad. Because I love physical books more than almost anything else in the world, and I feel as if I’m betraying them a little.

That said, there’s one place where the iPad is going to be invaluable, which is for reading books that are out of print and not in my local library, but available for free on Google eBooks. And the list is longer than you might think—in fact, it’s close to infinite. Just looking over the digitized books I’ve found recently, I see the works of George Saintsbury, random volumes of James Frazer’s original Golden Bough, Eckermann’s complete Conversations with Goethe, and such oddball classics as Frédéric Masson’s Napoleon at Home. Thanks to Google, a world of treasures in the public domain has been placed at my disposal, limited only by my ingenuity and desire to explore, and I’m excited about diving into it with my Codex Ipadianus as a guide. (Also: Angry Birds.)

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