The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman is a series of narratives by different people affiliated with a newspaper in Rome. Each odd-numbered chapter is told by a different character, like struggling freelance writer Lloyd, hated CFO Abbey, and longtime reader Ornella. The even-numbered chapters are devoted to the history of the newspaper, starting with its founding by millionaire Cyrus Ott and ending with its downfall in the current Internet age due to declining readership.
My big complaint about the book is that because it is subtitled “A Novel”, I was expecting a novel. But what we get is individual chapters that tell the stories of different characters, and those characters’ lives don’t really intersect except that they all happen to work at the same newspaper. Because of this, it feels much more like a collection of short stories, which I’m not uaually a fan of. That’s not to say that this book isn’t well done, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. If you’re interested in the topic and like short stories, you should give it a try. There are aspects of it that I really did enjoy, especially seeing the history of the paper unfold throughout the book. At its heart, The Imperfectionists is a book about people trying to get by despite the fact that their careers seem doomed. It seems especially relevant when we hear so much today about print journalism going by the wayside in favor of getting our information online.
Do you like to read the newspaper at one of our branch libraries? What could be better than sitting in front of the fireplace at the Fairmount branch and catching up with news around the world? Or enjoying the view of the north woods at the Eastern branch?
Not only do we carry the local and regional papers, but also The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and more.
Please take one of our surveys (actually a small bookmark) the next time you’re at one of the branches and make a checkmark next to the newspapers you read.
We’d also like to know if there are titles that you wish the library carried. We look forward to your feedback!
A recent Wall Street Journal article reports that newspapers and magazines still are alive and kicking. “Magazines Team Up to Tout ‘Power of Print” describes a campaign by publishers to promote the value of print magazines. “The Internet is fleeting. Magazines are immersive,” according to an ad to run in May issues of selected magazines.
Jann Wenner, the man behind the campaign, says that “just as TV didn’t kill magazines, the Internet was a threat only to publications that lost focus on what makes magazines unique. “In a certain way, this campaign is aimed at the magazine business itself.”
Magazine readership has actually been rising. Similarly newspapers are trying to get the word out that the readership of daily papers is up.
Michael Phelps is headlining the ads, so if you see his goggled face, check out the copy. It may surprise you.