Posted by: Corri van de Stege | September 15, 2008

Yesterday and tomorrow


My granddaughter told me over the phone she was going to

eat muffins –

her mother was just baking them.

She said this in perfect German;

I answered in perfect English,

and she got bored.



I read the papers and

I went into the garden,

where  I trimmed shrubs and

helped cut hedges,

including the wire of the electric hedge cutter.

The wire needed a big black plaster.


The sun was out,  it was mild, not raining at all.

And I took off my jumper and

the shrubs had grown really thick and fearsome over the wet summer.

So they needed a saw to cut through.


I also read the book reviews in the papers,

including  the one in the Independent:

about the future of books and reading and

about people who no longer read books.

About e-books and print on demand, but

it was the ’not-reading-people’ that twirled through my mind.


25% of British people have not read a single

book last year.

Does that include babies and young people?

And people who cannot read or write?

What does that say about the education



And then this view:

Will books exist in 50 years time?


Definitely, but they will also be just one of the many ways we experience art

I feel quite cynical about the cloak of preciousness that’s been

woven around the novel: it’s such a recent medium –

we’ve only had it a few hundred years and yet you often

hear people say

We’ve always had novels


And I?

I dislike this self righteous verdict about

‘the cynical cloak of preciousness’

I love books. 

I love words and sentences and paragraphs.

and how they can evoke worlds and emotions

that no other medium can.



I will post my review on Coetzee.





  1. What can one say, a great use of “words”. Enjoyed as usual.

  2. And did R. trim the hedges properly, then?

  3. oevreo: glad you enjoyed my little escapade
    ario: definitely – it was the wire cutting that was not so proper 🙂

  4. what a wonderful post! loved the day’s description and pictures.

    And then, reading the reviewer’s view on books and readers with a very cynical future look, I found myself as annoyed and concerned, at first,as I am about our upcoming election in the States! What? “Preciousness?” No, I think I’ll just laugh, instead.
    And bop over to the bookstore.

  5. I thought the figure would not be so grim in the UK. 25%? For the US, it was nearly 40% I think. That’s creepy.

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