Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Answer to Irene, Part 2


I figured I should take advantage of the Halloween filter because it probably won’t be around tomorrow. Hence the purple hair and Gene Simmons lipstick. (Okay, his was black, but you get the idea.) And by the way — every picture you will see of me on this blog has been filtered up the wazoo and then some.

Part two of whatever-this-is is about podcasting.

A few years ago I read an article by Nicholas Carr called “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” . It’s about how digital media change our reading patterns (and our brains) — particularly how they inhibit our ability to do long-form reading. I won’t go into the whole thing here (it’s a really interesting article, so I’ll link to it — he’s written more about this subject since, but this was, I think, his first). I recognized that my ability to sit down and read for an hour was basically nonexistent. This worried me, but in his article he assured us that we could regain the ability (and I’m happy to say I have).

Anyway — this renewed my interest in reading books. I have yammered on in other places about my infamous reading lists (note to Bruce: print them out and display them at my funeral because I hate to think that my beautiful, wonderful lists will never be seen by anyone except me) and I wanted to attack them in a more serious, concentrated way.

One thing I’ve also yammered on about is that the more you read “good stuff” the more you want to read good stuff (GS). I have little patience these days for mediocre books. So I’ve been reading GS. Tons and tons of it. Last year I read more than 104 books — a little more than two books a week. Most of them GS. This year, too — not as many, but just as worthwhile. All sorts of books — fiction, biography, theology, history — you name it.

I have a lot of friends who love to read and a lot of friends who love to read worthwhile books. David is foremost — I talk with him about books more than I do anyone else. But — of course — he doesn’t read like I do because no two people like the exact same things. I would finish a book and feel frustrated because I didn’t have anyone with whom I could discuss it — and that’s when the idea of a podcast about books popped into my head. I could read whatever I wanted and talk about it for half an hour.

At first it went well — I had fun, anyway. But by the end (it lasted almost six months) I was noticing that it was affecting my reading. I have been hesitant to read long books — especially Proust — because I wouldn’t have much to talk about when it comes to books that might take me a few weeks to finish. I don’t get paid (obviously) for doing this podcast, so if it is going to affect my ability to read what I want it becomes a less desirable effort.

So the other day I thought I might not keep doing the podcast thing...but I might go back to blogging. Because if I blog I can write about what I read, but if that’s not all that interesting I can write about something else.

More later...

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