Colin Steele reviews 'Where I'm Reading From' by Tim Parks

Colin Steele reviews 'Where I'm Reading From' by Tim Parks

Where I'm Reading From: The Changing World of Books

by Tim Parks

Harvill Secker, $34.99 hb, 256 pp, 9781846559037

British novelist, translator, and critic, Tim Parks, based in Italy since 1981, is well credentialled to examine the changing world of books. Parks says, however, that while he wanted to comment on ‘writing itself, and reading, and books’, he didn’t want to do it ‘in a precious way’.

In Where I’m Reading From, Parks is certainly far from precious as he tilts against many literary windmills, including the global marketing of fiction, literary prizes, how we read, the state of translation, literary festivals, academic criticism, and the publishing industry.

The thirty-seven essays, in four sections, ‘The World Around the Book’, ‘The Book in the World’, ‘The Writer’s World’, and ‘Writing Across Worlds’, were originally published as columns in the New York Review of Books. The length of the essays, between one and two thousand words, ensures succinct erudition and a provocative readability, but means that Parks often lacks the space to follow through on his sweeping generalisations.

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

Colin Steele

Colin Steele

Colin Steele is Emeritus Fellow of the Australian National University. A former University Librarian at ANU (1980–2002), he is the Convenor of the National Scholarly Communications Forum.

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.