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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Wednesday, 23 December 2015

How time robs the reader

By tomorrow night the Christmas book season will be over. Publishers will have sent out their final parcels, and closely estimated their sales and profits (though most of them say they never make a profit). Popular and unpopular authors will have ceased to pester their publishers by telephone and e-mail concerning the exact circulation of their books up to time of asking. Some authors will be preparing for a merry Christmas in a world where readers have shown a commendable taste for good books. Other authors will be preparing for a gloomy Christmas in a world where readers simply don't know a good book when they see it. Reviewers, an unthanked and misunderstood class, will be preoccupied with hateful questions relating to their career prospects.

Image result for heinemann great short stories world
Time lacks, more even than money lacks, for the faithful, interested reader. Take for example Heinemann's "Great Short Stories of the World". Here are over one thousand pages comprising 178 short stories which extend over all the world, and over thousands of years. An extremely remarkable production. All the greatest short stories are not in it, but very many of them are, and the number of inferior ones is quite small. But even by this time next year even the bravest reader will almost certainly not have vanquished this prodigious volume.

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