Roy One Pynchon Zero

Well, I finally finished it. A friend who is an avid reader, and more to my point, a socially avid reader, in that she participates in a book group, tells me that she knows a number of people who have not finished it. A number of people. She had told me this before I finished, but I don’t think it spurred me on. Although I do carry some baggage around my multiple failed attempts to finish Gravity’s Rainbow.

I thought I would feel relieved when I finished. Not just because I had been finding it hard to stick with, but also because I was out of renewals at the library and was reading it on ever more costly overdues.

I didn’t feel relieved. I felt disappointed, at first, and actually I felt an expected disappointment. There had come a point in my reading The God of Small Things when I started expecting ultimate disappointment. I lost faith. But then, having finished, I read the laconic author bio on the back sleeve, and “first book” restored my faith. After all, I had enjoyed beautifully conjured settings, lush atmospheres, and an important social commentary. I suspect it will be memorable. My disappointment was only with a payoff that did not match its buildup. (Nor would I want it to. The payoff was fine. It needed less buildup.) A structural thing, really, and that reminds me of the kind of chop that gets honed with practice.

I hope Arundhati Roy will write a second book.

Mostly lists, not many reviews yet, but you might consider that a blessing.

Such As It Is

Regrettable Urgency

Was That Glib

How You, Too Can Leave The Kindle Conversation Behind

I find myself talking about the Kindle more often. At this stage of the game, the conversations still always mine the idea Paper Vs. Electronics. I have heard, and offered open-minded considerations of this comparison. Although as one who resents the increasing time required to maintain an operating charge in the increasing number of devices which require it, who has spent unacceptable amounts of time and money rehabilitating damaged electronics, replacing stolen electronics (and taking extra measures to prevent further theft), downloading and installing new versions (at brokenother times wishing I could download when some wrinkle between me and the internet is preventing it), who worries about the growing mountains of discarded electronics, I naturally enjoy the Neo-Luddite position in these conversations. Fanciers of coffee table books and cookbooks often join me, and I appreciate those perspectives as well.

Increasingly, however, this has felt like an exercise, like insincerity, and I have finally had opportunity and inclination to investigate that feeling. My conclusion? Debating paper versus electronic books is like debating roast turkey versus roast turducken. You can only take it so seriously. In a reductive mood, you start to hear it as “’but I love it as it is’…’yes, but this is MORE of it.” And you realize you are really debating whether or not more is automatically better. More books, and simultaneously more freedom from their physical burden.

Will you gain more physical space as you replace paper books with ones and zeroes in the clouds? Yes. You would also gain that space by reducing your furnishings to one bed. It could serve for sleeping and for sitting, and could seat several people for entertaining. But the number of people who actually need to reclaim the space taken by either their furniture or their books is much smaller than the number of people who argue that this is a benefit of e-readers.only a bed

Will you have access to more reading material in mobile or remote situations? Yes. How long is your commute? How brief is your attention span? How long are your vacations? How little do you have to fill your vacationing time? The number of people who have been inconvenienced by a bulky burden of reading material, even after including students, is much lower than the number of people who argue that this is a benefit of e-readers.

And yet these are the conversations we cordially entertain, without even a hint of the ridiculous. I, for one, am committed to greater Kindle-honesty in 2010, and I invite you to join me. Let us admit to its superfluous, gratuitous nature, and get on with some lively discourse on gadgetphilia or marketing or planned obsolescence.

Not A Moment Too Soon

If You Name The Baby “Justin”

This is like jjjjound without the materialism, and with a slightly darker taste. Both favorite brainbreakfasts. What’s in a name, hey?


Takes the Cake

Not Yours

Supernumerary, acrylic on canvas, 2010

No, it’s someone else’s now. But you can still get yours at Corey Helford until May 5. Or tell Mr. Petker you’d like more notice next time.

Joshua Petker.

Categories: Distracted Tags: ,

ok, sometimes I will vacation here

I never have to worry whether I love PSFK just because they are purple, as long as they keep posting stuff like this.

Nautilus House – PSFK.

Categories: Distracted Tags: ,