Cotswold Books

Lat­est lo­cal re­leases re­viewed by the Yel­low Lighted Book­shop

Cotswold Life - - INSIDE -

The first ever agony un­cle was a book­seller, John Dun­ton, who in 1691 started an ad­vice col­umn in a jour­nal called The Athe­nian Gazette. The col­umn thrived, and shortly af­ter­wards a ri­val pub­li­ca­tion, The Lacede­mo­nian Mer­cury, was launched, and as they say, the rest is his­tory.

These jour­nals were used, not only for help­ing out with the cus­tom­ary ‘my wife doesn’t un­der­stand me’ type ques­tions, but pretty much any­thing and ev­ery­thing. Is there a God? Can a man know when he dreams or is re­ally awake? Were there any men be­fore Adam? And so on.

The world has moved on over the last 300 years. Ev­ery­thing is done via the in­ter­net, and Google and Wikipedia can give you the an­swer to any ques­tion in sec­onds. Ex­cept, of course, they can’t.

What Google and Wikipedia and all the rest give you (if you’re lucky), are facts. Yet as any book­seller will tell you, a fact is not an an­swer. For an­swers you need hu­man in­ter­ac­tion, a con­text and a warmth. Which is why, de­spite ev­ery­thing, the printed word, book­shops and book­sellers are still im­por­tant. We un­der­stand the ques­tions we are asked in ways the on­line world can­not imag­ine (be­cause it – ob­vi­ously – has no imag­i­na­tion). We have a hu­man pas­sion to help our cus­tomers that no screen could could at­tempt. And we are bet­ter equipped be­cause with all the re­sources of the world – and our own hu­man­ity – we know that the real an­swer to a ques­tion is just as likely to be a work of fic­tion on a page, as any pixel­lated fact.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.