Things have been too quiet here on the website – that will soon change after the first week of March when my comps are complete. In the meantime, enjoy the official movie trailer for the Spencer Tracy film Northwest Passage (1940). I’ve been hunting for a copy of the movie lately, but have been unsuccessful in finding a copy, so here’s the next best thing until I locate a copy. Enjoy!
As technology has improved and become more accessible to the mass, how one receives their news has expanded from the newspaper only to the internet (computer and phone), TV (cable and network), newspaper (online or print; independent or conglomerate), Twitter, and Facebook (I include the last two apart from the internet as they seem to be “news reporters” in their own right; ABC’s “Good Morning, America” even has a segment in which they report news from Twitter and/or other social media). With the glut of news sources, the media resorts to pandering to their audience by “reporting” on issues their audience find important. Issues that, in the grand scheme of things, are unimportant and superfluous. For instance, does it really matter what someone wore to the Grammy Awards? And when a “news item” hits a nerve with the audience, the news outlet harps on that issue, regardless of the fact that there may be no real news to report. Such is the world we live in today – a world in which the news we receive is mundane and over-hyped.
While it is easy to view today’s news as over-hyping the mundane, it appears that the same can be said of the news outlets of the past. On January 19, 1945 the NY Times reported Kenneth Roberts’ stay at the New England Baptist Hospital in Boston. According to the very brief article (p. 26, 1/19/45 edition, NY Times), Roberts was admitted to the hospital to undergo treatments for a neck infection. As of the time the article was written, Roberts’ condition “was described as satisfactory.” He had been ill for ten days prior to being admitted to the hospital.
Apparently, the news of yesterday included the mundane as well, which leads me to think that perhaps the mundane has its place in the news. If the NY Times had not reported on Kenneth Roberts’ stay at a Boston hospital in January of 1945, we would not be able to know more of Kenneth Roberts’ life. So, despite my complaints, I guess the tendency of today’s media serves a purpose, at least to provide fodder for the historians of tomorrow.
While I enjoy the conveniences technology affords us – such as the iPhone, laptops, internet, etc. – I must confess that I have not taken hold of the e-book craze. I’ve only bought one Kindle book, and that was out of necessity. Google Books offers numerous partial-views or full-views of books. One can own thousands of books without owning a book case. But, that’s not for me. I’d rather sit in a room flooded with books. I want to hold a book in my hands and smell the pages as I thumb through them. And when I need to reference a book previously read, I don’t mind getting out of my desk chair to retrieve the book from across the room.
Nevertheless, Google Books and the move to digitize book has its advantages to poor Ph. D. students like me. And here is where this post connects to this website. Ever since I began my hunt for anything Kenneth Roberts – not just his novels, but his books written in the 1920s, his Post articles, his cookbook, and his water dowsing books – I have sought tenaciously for, but never succeeded, his books written in the 1920s during his Post days. No bookstore that I have visited – from Louisiana to Maine – has carried these books. No yard sale has happened to miraculously have a rare copy of one of these books. Nope. Only the Ebays, Amazons, Alibris, etc. of the world have carried these books, and at a price that I cannot yet afford. So, for the longest of times, I had to yearn for these books, longing to read what Roberts wrote before his days as a historical fiction writer.
Well, thanks to Google and other digitizing efforts, Kenneth Roberts’ fans can read books such as Why Europe Leaves Home and Europe’s Morning After. All one needs to do is to access Google Books, and type in the title or Kenneth Roberts’ name, and within seconds one can be reading a rare book in digitized form. I discovered that one can even purchase Why Europe Leaves Home in Kindle version.
But still, I hesitate reading these titles via Google Books. There’s part of me that wants to wait to read them until I have the book in hand – literally.