Friday, July 05, 2013

In Which I Go Over the Edge

Two lovely posts this morning with the common theme of reading.  One, by Ian Crouch about remembering, or more particularly about forgetting what you read--how sometimes you carry away just the tang,the flavor of the environment of a book. I can relate: I still remember the day when as a small child I was reading Proust and mother served me those little cakes of Madelaine in tea.  More sedately I can remember the book I read in upstairs in the boathouse while I was a kitchen boy on Lake Winnipesaukee (Homer, Odyssey) or the one I read in the back of an Army duece-and-a-half at Fort Leonard Wood (Trevelyan, History of England) or the one on the delayed flight back from Russia (Dostoevsky of course, The Devils, my first outing with the Big D).

None of this gainsays the fact that I sometimes--often, anymore--open a book, read 50 pages  with pleasure and profit and then to my dismay, find--whoa,  what's  this?  My  own underlining!  Obviously I have read it before and was so impressed that I wanted to leave my pheromones--yet I do not now have the slightest notion of when and under what circumstances, nor why it impressed me so.  So this is what Hegel meant when he talked about aufhaben (spring of 1990, sitting in on Bill Bossart's  intro class--thanks,Bill!).

Meanwhile  over at American Prospect, here's Anne Trubek gazing on her Kindle and finding it good. Once again, here's someone who is talking to me.  I think this is the very week when it dawned on me that I've gone over the edge--that I actually prefer e-reading (in my case, to my continuing  bewilderment, a tiny IPhone) to the clutter of musty paper.  The main reason in my case is night time.  It pleases fate to wake me up along about 2 am on many mornings and I want some distraction to beguile me back to sleep.  I used to try hard to keep the goose neck lamp bent low so as to limit the risk of disturbing Mrs. B (thanks, Mrs. B).  Then I found realized that with the e-reader I didn't even need to bother with the lamp.  At first I thought I was doing her a favor.  Then just the other night it dawned on me: no, bozo, you are doing yourself favor. You like being tucked down here i the dark with the little yellow light that carries you off to the universe of universes, known and unknown.  Oh, when will it stop?

Footnote on the sidebar: you noticed: I've put up an Amazon display ad, thinly disguised as a book list. Actually, it is not new: I had a version up a couple of years ago and it got lost in some kind of transition.  I stumbled just lately and retweaked it and reinstalled it for--well, really, I have not the slightest notion for why.  I'm certainly not looking forward to the big bucks.    And while these are favorites of mine, still I know that nobody ever follows other people's book recommendations, or at least not mine.  I think the thing with the display ad is the same as the thing with the walls of floor to ceiling dead-tree bookcases on either side of me as I write.  I feel comfy with the stuff around, all along in the traditional format, now in the new digital avatar as well.

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