The Tweets
The Tweets

Entries in Books (2)

Wednesday
Nov282012

The Dewey Digital System

This may come off as more ranty than I want it to, but I refuse to continue apologize for loving to read on my portable electronic devices.

Yes, I love having 200 books with me at all times.

Yes, I love being able to switch from one device to another without having to find my place again.

Yes, I love to be able to flip screens to write a quick email and then back to my book/magazine without having to put down one thing and pick up another.

Yes, I love to be able to do a dictionary or wiki search on something I'm reading almost immediately after I read it.

...and yes, I still love my physical books.

It doesn't mean one or the other, people. My perfect house would have a huge library with wall to wall bookcases and one of those library ladders on rails. I haven't all of a sudden turned into--and please try to explain the logic behind this accusation--an anti literature jerk because I would like to have access to more literature wherever I happen to be.

I completely understand and respect anyone who can't/won't/chooses not to go digital. That's their choice. I'm not going to go over the same argument I've heard from both "sides."

Both sides suck.

Both sides are awesome.

I'm sick of the all or nothing attitude that seems to be more prevalent nowadays--and that goes for more than just books. We can compromise; we can love two seemingly different things. That's what makes this country great #MisplacedPatriotism #HashtaggingOutsideOfTwitter.

I love my dog eared copy of the complete works of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (I also love the Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock TV series, but that's another topic entirely), and I love the digital representation of anything by Margaret Weis.

Above all, I love that loving any and all of these things doesn't hurt you in any conceivable way.

Wednesday
Jun062012

Anachronism, Chicago punk rock and New England horror stories

Through the sometimes mad genius of shuffle, I heard a song today that I hadn't heard in a while (Calling All Skeletons by the Alkaline Trio to be exact, but that's not fundamentally important to the story). The interesting thing is that this song, and the entire album it's from reminds me of the Stephen King novel The Stand.

A little background: Irony and Agony (the album the song in question is on) came out in 2008; The Stand was originally published in 1978 (a year before I was born for those not paying attention to the subtitle of this website) and I first read it sometime in the early 1990s.

So why, exactly, are these two things joined at the hip in the recesses of my mind? Well, in the year 2008 I had purchased what was then the latest Alkaline Trio album and was listening to it on my daily commute. As I've been known to do, I would also read at the same time. Some might say that that would be counterproductive and would split my concentration. To these people, I would politely ask that they not pretend to understand the means I use to survive my (week)daily trek to and from my place of work.

...but back to the topic at hand. I'm also the type of person who will re-read favourite books multiple times. I had just gotten though one such cycle of re-reading and there didn't happen to be any new books on my radar at the time. So I culled my ebook collection and I stumbled upon this forgotten gem. Since it had been somewhere around fifteen years since I had read it, my aforementioned split focus leaned heavily towards the book and not the new album in my ears. 

I also go through phases where I listen to entire albums as opposed to having an endless shuffled playlist; sometimes I'll even listen to one album for a period of time.

Thus, the perfect storm was born. While this album seeped its way into my subconscious, I got reacquainted with and old (inanimate) friend. Unbeknownst to me, my mind was already creating links between the two; plot points and lyrics, melodies and emotions. It wasn't until months later, when I heard one of the songs again, did I realize that it reminded me instantly of one section of the book that I thought I had forgotten. I could now tell you exactly how this makes sense; how there actually themes that intersect between the two. Whether I'm right or full of shit doesn't matter. My brain was working on rationalizing this connection well before I was consciously aware of it.

Now, I realize that none of this is unique or particularly noteworthy in and of itself. What struck me as particularly noteworthy how this relates to the human connections that we make.

It might seem natural that when you meet someone and you can connect over a cartoon you saw when you were young because "that's what everybody watched when they were seven." But that's not necessarily so. There are so many people and so many things that we could all be doing at the same time that it is truly remarkable to meet someone who had the exact same experience with something, or if you're really lucky, many of the same things.

There is so much out there for us to consume that we can't all expect to take it all in as soon as it becomes available. There are movies, music and books (among other types of art and entertainment) that I have just been introduced to that have been around for years, not to mention what's out there that has been available longer than I've been alive.

For me to connect with one of my best friends over Welcome Back, Kotter in 2006 is really quite incredible if you think about it. We're close to the same age, but there are still a handful of years separating us, and this particular show was off the air before either of us were born. Sure, the show and quotes from it are in the zeitgeist, but I couldn't tell you how many references I use every day that are met with blank stares.

So, in the spirit of looking on the bright side of life (one example of a reference that people I know don't always know exactly where it comes from *cough*Python*cough), just take a look at your significant other--or one of your close friends--and reflect on some of the things you have in common and just how amazing it is that you were actually able to meet this person who shares a weird connection with a thing that someone you never met created for people that they will never know.

Sometimes I even surprise myself with how disgustingly optimistic I can be... and how I don't hate it.