Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Something About Obsoletism

Obsolete (Anna Jane Grossman)

Any advantages to your unavailability?

Anna Jane Grossman
's book Obsolete fell off my bookshelf recently. I took it as a sign. I hope it’s just the foundation settling again. The first time this happened a couple years ago it was an atlas and we ended up heading to Arizona. Grossman has short essays covering a number of curious concepts: analog clocks, bellhops, and correction fluid are but a few of the favorites.

It reminded me of how some contemporary reviewers of the Bellairs Corpus are quick to point out the books are set in the 1950s and were written in the 1970s and 1980s. The point here is modern readers may not truly understand references or situations because they occurred in another time. It made me wonder what is the most obsolete thing or concept in the Bellairs Corpus? 3-digit telephone numbers? Viewmaster slides? Penmanship? Fully trusting your neighbor?

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