Thursday, July 29, 2010

Summer Reading

Partridge pea (Cassia), in the woods

It's time for my annual break from blogging.

"Extreme busyness, whether at school or college, kirk or market, is a symptom of deficient vitality; and a faculty for idleness implies a catholic appetite and a strong sense of personal identity." - Robert Louis Stevenson, "Apology for Idlers" in Virginibus Puerisque, 1881

I'll be back later in August as we gear up for the fall semester. In the meantime, here's what I'll be reading:

Cognitive Surplus - Clay Shirky's name has been cropping up in various places recently. Alright, alright, you've got my attention.

The Shallows - by Nicholas Carr, of Is Google Making Us Stupid? fame. I'll be curious to find out whether my suspicion that Carr's thinking is at best binary (ha) and at worst paranoid is correct. There was an interesting review of it in the New York Times.

The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It - The title is a bit misleading, as author Jonathan Zittrain is no Luddite. Rather than questioning the entire existence of the internet, he is concerned about its current direction.

In Search of Zarathustra by Paul Kriwaczek

Moo! by Jane Smiley

Straight Man by Richard Russo

Neill! Neill! Orange Peel! An autobiography by A.S. Neill, a reference in which prompted me to read some of R.L. Stevenson's essays. One is quoted at the beginning of this post, one is now in the blog's subheading, and here's one more, from "Walking Tours":

For we are all so busy, and have so many far-off projects to realise, and castles in the fire to turn into solid habitable mansions on gravel soil, that we can find no time for pleasure trips into the Land of Thought and among the Hills of Vanity. Changed times, indeed, when we must sit all night, beside the fire, with folded hands; and a changed world for most of us, when we find we can pass the hours without discontent, and be happy thinking. We are in such haste to be doing, to be writing, to be gathering gear, to make our voice audible a moment in the derisive silence of eternity, that we forget that one thing, of which these are but the parts -- namely, to live.

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