Friday, November 19, 2010

And yet, another reason physical books are better than e-books

Imagine this scenario on (insert holiday morning of your choice). Instead of handing your loved one a beautifully wrapped rectangular package, you instruct them to open an email. I guarantee that this is how it will come off to them:

I love you so much and think you're so amazing and interesting that I downloaded this book for you. Here, let's look through it together under the (insert holiday decoration of your choice). We can turn the pages with this little clicky thing and look at how wonderful and beautiful the pixels are. I bet you can see how wonderful this book is and how much it means to me by looking at this desensitized, sterile, robot-like digital copy. It must make you feel so special that I spent $9.99 to download it for you while sitting on my ass on my couch.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Another reason physical books are better than e-books:

If you're reading a book and you really hate it and you want to express how much you hate it, in a way that will make you feel better for all the time and/or money you spent on it while also making a physical statement of your very high yet appropriate aesthetic standards, you can throw it across the room. You could even break something with it, which would probably just make you hate the book even more. Either way, you can throw it and leave it on the floor where it landed flattened open with the spine breaking and the pages folding in a very ugly manner (if you have never done this because you are much tidier and/or mature than me, trust me, it's very cathartic).

What the hell do you do with an e-book you desperately hate? Delete it? Click and drag it into a trash bin? Sounds lame.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dana Jennings answers our Top Five

Dana Jennings is an author and assistant editor of the Arts & Leisure section of the New York Times, where he has most recently been blogging about his experience with prostate cancer. His new book, What a Difference a Dog Makes: Big Lessons on Life, Love, and Healing from a Small Pooch tells about the healing power of living with and loving his dog, Bijou. Originally from New Hampshire, Dana will be reading at Water Street Bookstore on Thursday, November 18th at 7pm.

1. What's on your nightstand right now?

I tend to listen to music in bed -- with my two golden retrievers, Moxie & Harry -- and i've been listening to a Starbucks collection called "Heading West: Songs for the Open Road." The artists include Patty Griffin, the Shins, Calexico, Old Crow Medicine Show, and other bands like that. This morning on the bus to work, I was re-reading a wonderful collection of poetry by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser called "Braided Creek." It's a genuine conversation in empigrammatic poems.

2. How do you write?

I write in the morning. When I'm really focused on a book, I work at the dining-room table. If I'm just dreaming & doodling, I write at my local Starbucks. I write my first drafts in longhand, using Pilot's Precise V5 Extra Fine pen, and a range of Moleskine notebooks. I'm addicted to beautiful papers and leathers. After I write, I head off to my job at The New York Times, where I'm the asst. editor of the Sunday Arts & Leisure section. I also write for the paper.

3. Name the first time or moment you realized you were a writer.

It was in third grade. A fourth grader named Cindy Clark, who now lives in East Kingston, showed my teacher, Mrs. Consentino, a story she had written. I watched this play out, and said to myself, 'I can write a story.' I went home that afternoon and started my "first novel": The Cannon Twins in the Robbery Mystery.

4. What are you working on now?
I'm doodling on a book called "Redneck Jew: My (Ahem) Spiritual Journey." It's about how a working-class hick -- me -- improbably converted to Judaism in his late 40s. And, yes, there will be Redneck Jew jokes in the book.

5. Favorite recent find?

Two music videos that I absolutely love that I constantly watch over & over on YouTube: "Wagon Wheel" by Old Crow Medicine Show [reminds me of the Kingston carnival when I was a kid] and "White Winter Hymnal" by Fleet Foxes. Can't get that song out of my head.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What I loved about FREEDOM:

This sentence:
"But [Jocelyn Zorn] had a fine, unsettling cool, an unflappability suggestive of irony, and was the sort of bitter salad green for which Walter ordinarily had a fondness."

This is an excellent sentence, and I like the idea of describing someone as a salad green. That's it.