Sunday, January 17, 2010

Before launching into 2010

I'm approaching 2010 a little late, as is common for me in general. I'm starting my focused "resolution-type" efforts tomorrow - now that CES and a whirlwind visit by J's aunt are past. So, it's appropriate that, on this last day of "2010 denial", I'm writing about my year-end for 2009 (this will be the first of two posts today)

Books - I just got to 24 books last year. Ah, well, some were quite meaty and took a while. I'll shoot for 35 at least in 2010, if not the magic 50.

Book #22 - Haunted Providence: Strange tales from the smallest state by Rory Raven. My brother knows Rory and I've met him - he was a mentalist long before the show existed, and is quite the skeptic. Still he digs up some good tales and I love learning more about the city Sonny lives in. He also makes some great points about storytelling that I will be blogging about on Media Creole in the next week or so.

Book #23 - Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates. A fictionalized retelling of a tragic true story - a Senator leaves a party w/ a young girl, crashes the car in water, and the girl dies. Told from the girl's point of view and for the most part in the moments after the crash, flashback style. Powerful.

Book #24 - On Literature by Umberto Eco. A collection of essays and lectures, this can get quite technical at points and so is not recommended as a whole for the casual reader. Still there are some awesome points in here. Discussion on the search for the perfect language and how it ties to poetic artistry. A powerful essay on the power of falsehood, that, like Foucault's Pendulum, makes you realize how different history would be if one joke hadn't been played. The importance of literature:
...the wretches who roam around aimlessly in gangs and kill people by throwing stones from a highway bridge or setting fire to a child - whoever these people are - turn out this way not because they have been corrupted by computer "new-speak"(they don't even have access to a computer) but rather because they are excluded from the universe of literature and from those places where, through education and discussion, they might be reached by a glimmer from the world of values that stems from and send us back again to books.

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