[Photo courtesy of James Bridle.]
For lots of reasons I've been thinking about books and literary forms in general recently. And I've just finished reading Immanent in the Manifold City. It's brilliant.
One of the interesting things about using Newspaper Club is that it can't help but remind you that many books used to be serialised. Whether it was simply about keeping interest in the story alive, or making it affordable to more people, there's something interesting about serialisation, issuing a novel as part of a periodical.
I think there's something to be said for it as a unit of literature today. It feels relevant. The delayed gratification aspect. And the knowledge that it can fit into the bigger and more important patterns of your life. How great would that have been, to be able to get your Charles Dickens or George Eliot fix in your magazine or newspaper? I'm sure it would click with lots of people's media diets in 2010, as much as it did in the 19th century.
And I think it would be an interesting literary unit for me especially. Otherwise short story collections are my staple. I hoover up short stories on the commute to work, but novels tend to take me at least a couple of weeks because the only time I have to pay proper attention is on the train. I can't think of much better than a story unfolding over the course of weeks and weeks, in small and easily digestible pieces (nicely designed too) for me to look forward to. There's loads of clever things you could do. Sort of like The Dongle of Donald Trefussis, but keeping on going.
If I keep thinking about it, I may have to write something for serialisation.
Just a thought.