Commonplace Books

It isn't often that I read about commonplace books on the literary or scientific blogs that I read. But a couple of months ago I did see the term used in a blog known as The Front Cortex (http://scienceblogs.com/cortex) written by Jonah Lehrer, the author of Proust was a Neuroscientist.

In his September 9th blog on Mania, Lehrer writes about an Oliver Sacks essay on manic depressive disorder that was published in the New York Review of Books. After quoting a couple of paragraphs in Sack's essay, Lehrer says:

"I would love Sacks to create a commonplace book featuring all those quotes that he so effortlessly places throughout his prose. (Auden wrote a great one.)"

What a fine idea I thought, although I can't imagine publishers would be interested in publishing a person's commonplace book on a single or set of topics, unless of course they were well known like Sacks and Auden.

I could readily put together a book on the major themes of my Commonplace Book. But in today’s “market” even highly respected authors would have difficulty publishing such a volume.

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