Sunday, October 30, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Friday, March 04, 2011
Already he had begun dreaming of a refined Thebaid, a desert hermitage equipped with all modern conveniences, a snugly heated ark on dry land in which he might take refuge from the incessant deluge of human stupidity.
~ J.K. Huysmans, A Rebours
A snugly heated ark might be tempting if I wasn’t sure to bring every species of folly into it with me. Like Noah, I’d spend all my time washing shit off the deck. Anyway, it’s stupidity that I can’t seem to do without. It’s comfortable and familiar. Human intelligence and earnestness are more frightening.
As a trial lawyer I make my living by sweeping up the wreckage of human folly. It does get wearisome at times, but the older I get, the more I realize that my own bag of folly is big enough that I should be a little more forgiving towards the follies of others. Though contra the remarks from the cited blog, a little more intelligence and earnestness now and then would make for a pleasant change.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Spiritual tourism offers the benefits of wisdom derived from those who submit to authority and discipline and tradition without having to do so oneself.
Gregory Wolfe, Image Journal Editorial "Religious but not Spiritual"
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
The fire on the mountain in the pictures below never came any closer to us. High winds drove the flames up over the rigdeline, hopping Skyline drive and burning through Shenandoah National Park down into Rapahhanock County. There is rain today, with sleet and snow predicted for the evening which should put an end to the burning. Our local free paper, The Warren County Report, has online updates here.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I think I get it. I know, I'm probably the last blogger of the biblioblogosphere to talk about e-readers, but I think I just got it.
Obviously, I love books as things. The physical artifact. Paper, ink, boards, cloth, leather, all of it. I have not really understood the fascination with e-books. Until now. They seem pretty unsatisfactory, by and large, but are improving. I'll also admit I have an ereader app or few on my iphone. I use Stanza for books from Project Gutenberg (30K+ titles for free!) and MegaReader for access to books from Archive.org (Over a million, all free!).
I've used it to read in line at the Post Office, etc., and occasionally for reading in bed when I've not planned well and my TBR pile has shrunk too low to suit whatever reading mood I'm in. I do not use it for my primary reading source, nor do I ever expect it to.
Enter a fantastic book I read this past week: A Book For a Sixpence by David Kaser. Kaser examines the history of subscription libraries in the US. This was part of the Beta Phi Mu chapbook series, which is a must-have for students of the history of the book. This is not exhaustive, nor does he make any claims of it being so. There were many places in Kaser's study that prompted me to ask questions that no one has yet found answers to. There is also a very good bibliography, index and a couple appendices listing known American circulating libraries before 1900. After a very cursory search through my limited records, I only found a few not listed in this 30 year old work.
Reading this book made the light come on. E-readers are the new circulating libraries! Sure, you get to keep the "book" longer, but you don't own it. Your subscription fee is the price of the hardware reader, then you pay for access to the text, not for the book itself.
You never own the text on an e-reader. Except when they're free, then no one seems to really care. But you still don't own it.
In this context, e-readers make more sense. When I try to equate buying an "e-book" (a chimera of a word!) with buying a book, I'm revolted. It doesn't add up. I "buy" an "e-book" and I have no or very limited lending rights, right of first sale is out the window, etc. However, when I consider using an e-reader as a 21st Century subscription library that merely grants access to works, it suddenly makes a lot more sense.
I know most of you have not struggled with this, nor have you sought any kind of justification for buying an e-reader or using one. I think however, I've finally found mine.
kindle, ipad, i-pad, nook, sony, comparison, history, amazon, subscription library, private library, rental library, membership library,
I received a Kindle this Christmas and it has risen to top dog among my many gadgets. In my trade I occasionally find myself stuck waiting for lengthy periods and the kindle, or the e-reader on my smart phone, has the advantage of being discrete and more easily carried in a pocket than even the slimmest paperback. The back lighting on the smart phone also makes reading in bed with minimal spouse disturbance possible. I am still a little uneasy about just what I am buying with an e-book. The perspective in this post helps a bit, though it does give one pause to pay paperback prices or greater to "borrow" a book in digital format.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Monday, February 07, 2011
Susan and I went to Barbados last August. We didn't take part in any food festivals, but we did eat a lot of local food and hit a few fancy restaurants. The author here really does tell it like it is.