Ironic I've spent so much time online today – messing with blogs, trying to figure out how to apply domain names to web sites (and failing, in case you didn't notice) – and I'm reading (and loving) a book about how we all spend way, way too much time online. How it undermines our attention spans, robs employees of time spent working, etc.
Such an excellent read. A little discomfiting, since I see bits of myself in it, but Freeman covers not just our current situation with technology, but also what lead up to instant communication. He touches on ancient methods of writing in wet clay, then moves up through the era of the Pony Express, to the post office to now – the electronic era.
Great stuff. And he has one hell of a great sense of humor. No dry, academic writing here. Here's a bit of nonfiction that's truly readable. Not to say most of it isn't… Oh, drat. I don't mean that. But we all know a lot of scholarly works are insomnia defeaters, now don't we.
Not this one. It's a pleasure.
"Words written by hand, then carried by the saddlebags of travelers, kept friendships alive and gave shape and texture to the daily experiences – and the thoughts – of people who wanted to communicate but were not within speaking distance of one another."
The same could be said of email, only in addition to communicating with people we know (as in, have been with in the flesh)(not that, naughty thing), we also chat with people we've never met. In some cases, strong friendships develop. I bet that didn't happen much in days of yore.
I like Freeman's romantic attitude toward communication, and I'm looking forward to finding out how I'll feel about technology once I'm finished. She said, as she continues typing her blog post.
In the car I'm listening to my very first Barbara Kingsolver. I know. I'm the last person on that wagon. I had to squish between two other readers – who were distinctly not pleased about pulling me on so late in the game. But but no one told me before how FUNNY she is.
If I'd have known, how different things would have been. Why didn't you TELL me? I had it in my head she was didactic and preachy. Judgmental and holier than thou. And I couldn't have been more wrong. I also can't say where I got that impression. From just knowing the subject matter of her books, maybe? I do believe I jumped to a conclusion. I am incredibly sorry, Barbara.
But now I love her! And I'm only on disc 2. She's already had me laughing so hard I nearly snorted coffee through my nose. Now that would have hurt. Unlike my preconceived WRONG opinion, she delivers a message, but she knows how to make people listen. Give them the facts, don't preach, and be funny as hell about it all, laughing at yourself for your own imperfections.
Did I mention I love her already? Why didn't you TELL me, people? And you, reader who was on the wagon first, GET YOUR ELBOW OUT OF MY RIBS.
Though I haven't started it yet, November's Classic Book Group read is Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country. Haven't read him previously, so I'm excited to see what I think of it.
Finally, received in the mail today Edward Rutherfurd's November release, New York: A Novel.
And, boys and girls, it's a honker at 880 pp. Funny thing is, the publicist from Doubleday sent me a note as I held it in both hands (it's too heavy for just one) asking if I'd received it, and what promotion I'm willing to do.
My question: What promotion am I NOT willing to do?
I have bookmarks in many other books. Nothing's changed since Bluestalking was Bluestalking Reader. You should know me by now. We've grown apart… I think we need counseling. But I know we can do this thing.
A trifle dramatic, but the intent is good.