I’m resolving to read more this fall and winter – for pleasure, not work, which means books, mostly novels. In the last five years or so, I’ve amassed a decent-size library of e-books, which I read on the iPad with my Kindle app, but I’m thinking I’m going to throttle back. E-books, I’ve concluded, don’t really work for me.
Things I love about them:
* See a book you want to read? Click, click, click and it’s in your hands. Thank you, Amazon and those of you who buy through the Kickback Lounge — thanks to you I usually have at least $50 or so in my kitty, and it’s a snap.
* Traveling? Take your iPad, and you take a library.
* Reading something you might be embarrassed for the rest of the world to see? With an e-book, no one knows you’re a fan of erotic fetish fiction. (I’m not, I hasten to add. But I have read some.)
Things I don’t love? Let me count the ways:
* I wonder if I got any email in the last five minutes.
* Have I checked all my social networks lately? It’s been 20 minutes? Better check again.
* Who is this character again? Let me flip back and…dammit. Lost my place. Wait, where did this chapter start? OK, I’ll just enter the name into the search function and…have I checked my email lately?
* What’s the forecast for tomorrow? Fire up the weather app.
* Why can’t I touch the screen without turning a page? Dammit, lost my place again.
* Hey, that’s a nice turn of phrase. I’d like to screen cap it. Wait, I can’t? But I can highlight it? How am I supposed to share that with my social networks? Speaking of which, have I checked them all recently?
You get the idea. Like many people, the internet has so destroyed my attention span that it’s really better for me to read novels in a place where the internet has to knock like everyone else. I’m sure there are still going to be texts that go better onscreen — PDFs, some books for work, shorter pieces that really should be $3 (I remain hopeful for a return of the novella and Kindle Single-type short fiction), and, of course, erotica if you’re into that sort of thing. But “Fates and Furies,” the book currently on the nightstand, is positively wonderful, and my progress in it is terribly slow, in large part because I’m reading it onscreen.
I’ll tell you one book, or set of books, that are ideally suited for e-booking — the Game of Thrones pile, although I admit I quit halfway through book three and am perfectly happy letting HBO handle the storytelling from here on out. With their casts of weirdly-named thousands, I can tell you right now that if I didn’t have a search function, I’d have gotten mired in Westeros at least a book earlier. Why do so many authors of successful series become such bloated messes by book three? I never could get into Harry Potter, but I’m told by my less-enamored fans that it was like wandering through Overwritten Forest after the fireworks of success detonated. Same with Game of Thrones. Fortunately, one of my friends’ teenage sons is totally into it, and can answer any question about it at all. They call him the Maester. I’m going to put his number into my speed-dial.
So. I came upstairs today, after meticulously making my bed this morning, to discover Wendy had, once again, jumped up there and unmade it. She does it from time to time, usually if one of us is gone, and the other has done some terribly offensive thing like getting in the shower. Or, alternatively, she’ll do it when left alone in the house, although then, sometimes, she will also pee on it. Needless to say, this is why we leave the bedroom door closed when Wendy is alone in the house. It doesn’t seem to be any behavior she wants to change, so it is what it is. Shelter dogs come to us with biographies we usually know nothing about, and it’s probably just as well we don’t. But maybe you dog whisperers can explain this behavior. The bed-digging I figure has to be about our scent, as that’s where it’s strongest. So she jumps up there to, what? Reassure herself that we’re still about in the world? I’m a little baffled.
Good bloggage today. This is a good dive into the mindset of many voters in the red states, angry and resentful and wondering why they aren’t prospering and no one in Washington seems to care. My answer — that they’ve been carefully squeezed since the Reagan era by a set of economic policies designed to benefit the rich and cut the legs out from under people like them, all engineered by a party with a familiar, three-letter shorthand moniker — seems not to have occurred to them.
The Lewies and Veldhovens share a visceral dislike for President Obama, and much of their animosity for Washington seems entwined with their ill feelings about the president. The state of the nation, in their eyes, was at an all-time low.
“I think we’re at the bottom,” Ms. Lewie said. “It’s everything. Taxes, the economy, the government.”
“Our money is being wasted, wasted, wasted,” she added. “And now we’re paying more and more, and our debts are going up and up, and we need to stop the debt. We have to find someone that’s going to actually take control and say, ‘Stop spending.’ ”
Her husband said, “I don’t think it could get any worse.”
“The government is taking 39 percent now,” said Mr. Lewie, a little morosely, referring to the top income tax bracket. Not for the first time during the meal, he worried that high taxes would discourage the wealthy from producing jobs. “If they want 45 percent, they’ll take that and spend more. If they want 60 percent, they’ll take that and spend more. How much is enough?”
The Lewies haven’t settled on a candidate. But they know that their choice would probably be someone who had never worked in Washington.
They’re opposed to “regulation,” but seem blind to what too often happens when industries regulate themselves (hello, exploding China). They fret over taxes levied on the very rich, as though the crumbs from the table might not fall quite so quickly. And always, always, they assume that the answer to an incompetent political class is to sweep them out and elect another bunch of incompetents, who have no idea how to craft policy or compromise with one another to get it passed. Because if someone botches your knee operation, the obvious answer is to hire someone with even less experience to try again.
And of course they never make this connection, either: 158 families have provided half the cash in the presidential campaign so far. Never.
The next shooting war will be between Leaf owners, at least in Cali. We have these charging stations in Michigan, but they’re few and far between and I rarely see them being used.
So. No update tomorrow, most likely. A friend and I are going to a reading/Q&A with Patti Smith tonight in Ann Arbor. I had to have my arm twisted; while appreciative of her work, I’m not in the slavering hordes who greet her every utterance, scribble and doodle as Art. But my friend is a superfan, so that’s where we’ll be going.
In two days, then. Happy Monday, all.