You’ve Got To Be Kindle-ing Me

Technology doesn’t really float my boat; it sinks my boat, down, deep, into the sublime depths of technological annoyance . Some specific burdens strongly aid in the sinking of my boat (they irk me). They are what I call fake books: Nooks, Kindles, and eReaders. Why are they the source of my annoyance? Do I not like convenient reading means? Here are my reasons:

1. Don’t be confused, I adore books and avidly jump into the plot of any story whenever I get the chance. This fondness enhances my dislike of these new “books”. For me, I like having an actual book in my hands, holding real pages bound together by beautiful–most of the time– covers, and being able to absorb the gallantry scented whiff released after turning the page. This, in my opinion–along with others, including some of my good friends–beats swiping a screen.

2. They cost money!! Why spend hundreds of unnecessary dollars on a machine to contain books–many of which you have to purchase–when you can simply go to the library? I know with my sister’s Kindle Fire, not only are there books on there, but games as well: a negative distraction if your true intention relates to reading.

3. You don’t have to charge a book. (I never have, and probably never will here someone say, “oh darn, my book needs charged.”) Many people use the argument of, “you can have as many books as you want on vacation or far away trips without having to lug heavy books around.” Though that point is true, let’s see how that argument stands when your on the beach or in London, your Kindle gets down to 1% battery level, and needs to be charged; books are at 100% all the time.

4. For one of the last, but definitely not the least: studies have proven that reading information through a screen actually rewires our brains, inhibiting the full capacity of information to be retained. We remember more of what we read, if we read through actual books because we have started acquainting ourselves with scrolling and fast paced Twitter or Tumblr skimming. This rewiring also impairs some people’s abilities to carefully read more difficult literature; our mind is so used to jumping around on electronic devices from reading, to Facebook, to Email, to Pinterest, that taking time to slowly digest literature–Shakespeare for example–requires a lot more effort. ”Our ability to focus is being undermined my bursts of information” (Richtel) Reading from a screen also takes more time, “the most common experimental finding is that silent reading from screen is significantly slower than reading from paper”. ( Kak,1981; Muter et al, 1982; Wright and Lickorish,1983; Gould and Grischkowsky, 1984; Smedshammar et al 1989)

I’m still baffled as to why anyone would prefer a Nook, Kindle, or eReader over an actual book. If my parents bought be one, that thing would go straight back to where it came from. Now that I’ve put mine out there, feel free to comment your opinions!

books
References:

Dillon, A. (1992) Reading from paper versus screens: a critical review of the empirical literature. Ergonomics, 35(10), 1297-1326. (www.ischool.utexas.edu/~adillon/Journals/Reading.htm)

Richtel, Matt. Reading from paper versus screens: a critical review of the empirical literature. The New York Times. June 7, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/07/technology/07brain.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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Don Quixote: Define Insane (Book Review)

quixote-picasso-lg_1Disclaimer: *Spoilers

“for there is no book so bad, as not to have something that’s good in it” (Cervantes)

Yeah, I’ve been putting this review off and I also couldn’t think of any proper way to write this review without mentioning the ending; it could have been done, but it would have been boring because although this exiting classic has many, many, great lessons in it, the ending completely changed the way I though of it.

When reading a book I, along with many other readers, often have trouble not emphasizing with the main character, which is usually the author’s main intent. In this story–one of the world’s first modern novels– written by Miguel de Cervantes (originally in Spanish), the reader follows a “mad” or “crazy” Don Quixote (his made-up knight name) on his knight-errantic adventures: “Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.” (Cervantes) We “know” he lacks sanity by his unexplainable actions: claiming inns are castles, hiring a simple farmer (named Sancho) to be his squire, claiming various things are enchanted, etc. (though there is some debate to whether Quixote was faking his insaneness or truly believed in his endeavors). We feel sympathy for him because we consider him to be naïve: he doesn’t know any better. But at the same time I think to myself, what makes him any less sane than anyone else? If anything he should be more sane for not letting any obstacle get in his way of protecting valiance.

Along Quixote and Sancho’s humorous journeys, Quixote eventually bribes his loyal “squire” with government of an isle–one he doesn’t even own–which I believe Sancho deserves, but is never exactly given to him by Quixote. Instead, later on in the book, Don Quixote literally whips his sleeping, loyal servant for the purpose of freeing his “love”, Dulcinea, from an (imagined) enchantment; Quixote was tricked into thinking Merlin himself prescribed the antidote of lashings. Though, Dulcinea is actually just an average peasant. Personally, through the majority of the story I empathized with Quixote more than I did with Sancho because Quixote’s goal is to live his life with chivalry–a cause rarely seen these days–while Sancho acts as his silly follow along, that is, until the end of the book.
Having just lost a joust against another, Quixote solemnly renounces his knighthood as he had promised he would if he lost–on top of his pride being wounded. Then, going with Sancho back to his town, he falls ill. In his near death illness he claims his insanity has cleared and he now sees he was wrong. He has renounced all that he had been living for, looking down on the values he once held high. Meanwhile, Sancho still holds onto and tries to restore his master’s faith of his earlier beliefs.

Now, after going though 1000 pages of his adventures in pursuit of constant gallantry, I’m thinking WHHHAAAAT? How could you possibly think this? How could you possibly look down upon your ideals? Unless of course, he truly is insane. Maybe the author’s purpose is to indirectly ask us what we think about Quixote’s ideals. Whether or not Cervantes meant for that to be the meaning, I think the meaning is to ask ourselves this: do we want to aimlessly go along and conform to what society tells us is normal or “sane”, or do we want to strongly fight against that, and stand for our values, even if people think we are crazy?

“They (stories of knight-errantry) are already going down, and I do not doubt but they will drop and fall altogether in good earnest, never to rise again.” (Cervantes)

Final Thoughts: All together it was an amazing–but slightly tedious–novel. It’s one you shouldn’t read with a sleepy brain, though it’s definitely a read that will make you laugh loudly at times, and make you reflect upon yourself and your actions.

Follow Me (a poem)

1044231_3178855528390_823229546_nCome, follow me, walk by the sea

Throw your pride in the waves,

It can change the way you be–

How you behave.

Walk by me,

Like sounds in winter,

Calling through the leaves.

Like steps, mush in sand

Pace determines mind and

If silver radiant glowing water is secluding you

Walk.

Lead not, not required

Don’t hold, hold onto dread

Follow endless

Follow me.
Change the way you be.

Why Poe is Like Caviar

images
Edgar Allen Poe’s writing is like caviar. Caviar is very rich and dark, but It is an acquired taste preference; people either love it, or hate it. It is the first time you try caviar. You, the eater, sit there not exactly sure what you think of it. You chew, more and more: unaware of what exactly you are consuming. Then the fancy waiter comes along, and after asking, you receive your answer only to realize you have been gnawing on black fish eggs. The thought of the poor underdeveloped fish you have unknowingly killed, disturbs you; goose bumps cover your arms, and your stomach becomes queasy, undoubtedly turning your face green. Yet you continue devouring the baby fish because they taste too delicious, in an unusual way: the saltiness adding to the flavor. Lastly, it makes you think about the way the world works regarding life, and cycles of life, as well as death, those that cause it, and their motives.

The Night Circus: L’Endroit de Rêveurs

circus
“The circus arrives without warning” is how Erin Morgenstern begins her enchanting tale of magicians, a contortionist, a timeless clock-maker, a man without a shadow, and a very lovely circus, in a book that feels as if magic itself crafted the mysterious words beneath every page. Senses come alive with smells of caramel apples and bonfires which permeate the reader’s endeavors: black and white and red repeated colors illustrate what a circus should be. Not too dark, not too light: with deep passion and excitement. Torn between emotions from smiling to sorrow, I remained charmed by the wondrous imagery that painted out scenes of midnight banquets–where I could taste the exotic food–and ballroom encounters, as well as fierce foreshadowing like feathers of a raven, pulling you into a winding labyrinth of beauty. The characters take you along with them into their circus life; people die sudden deaths and children are born. Never before have I read such a modern and fresh fairytale like this one, filled with such warm description that I wanted to be in every scene of the story; I wanted this dream of an adventure to be physically in front of me when, at the same time, I knew what it was to experience it. Any one who chooses to pick up this beautifully covered fable will be held captive by soft darkness so divine it emanates bright sparks of riveting pleasure so masterfully written, with suspense and compelling marvel, it’s my conclusion that only a brilliant magician and kindred dreamer could have created such a bitter-sweet dream brought to life.

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”–Prospero, The Tempest

Breaking Book Stereotypes

We all know in the world outside of books–What? A world outside of reading? I know, might be hard to grasp, but it’s true–we have social stereotypes. Jocks, Band Geeks, Nerds, Cheerleaders, Ect. But, a realization whacked me the other day. (Realizations should be nicer, but they always just spring upon you when you’re not looking) Book stereo types exist and they should be broken, or at least tried to be broken. What are these “book stereotypes” you may ask? It has to do with people who ONLY read ONE KIND of book and NOTHING ELSE. Some of these include: Romance novel fanatics, Science Fiction junkies, The Classics snobs, Non-fictions stiffs, and Anime addicts. To clarify any confusion, I’ll go through them in order. (Be warned these are explained to the extreme. Some descriptors may not always apply)

romance 1. Romance Novel Fanatics:
These people are the ones who often hesitate to share what they are reading for fear of appearing unintelligent, because, let’s face it, Romance books are all they read; not to mention they may be embarrassed by the cheesy cover. You see, most of the time these people really aren’t all that into the whole “reading thing”. They just like dramatic soap-operas or heart-felt chick love stories. This way, wrapped up in a portable book, they don’t have to wait for their show to air; they can transport their portable package of happy sap along with them where ever they go, look smart, and reach happily ever after without even having to know anything past basic 4th grade English skills.
Geek 2. Science Fiction Junkies
I’m pretty sure we all know someone like this. The people who are constantly getting into debates about the logical physics of worlds set in the future and often gather in large legions to have LAN parties or watch Star Trek (the original, obviously). If you find someone who knows how to speak Klingon, likes to watch Firefly, knows who J.J. Abrams is, fights over which doctor is better, and has read any or all book by Orson Scott Card and/or Douglas Adams they are most likely a Science Fiction Junkie.
book snob 3. The Classic Snobs and Non-Fiction Stiffs
I figured both of these fit into the same type of category. One main point they have in common is that both feel they are better than the average person because they’ve read more Classics than you, look down upon you for not having read Count of Monte Cristo or because their understanding of the real world excels that of a fiction reader who spends his/her time mesmerized by silly fantasies. Heaven forbid you tell one you dislike Shakespeare. Or only read fiction.
anime Anime Addicts
Then there’s the anime addicts who are forced by the power of the anime and or manga "books" (yes, they still are books despite the abundance of pictures) to stay up till three AM reading them. They usually and enthusiastically discuss the books speaking with words so foreign, it seems almost like a different language. Unless of course they are actually speaking a different language like Korean, Japanese, or Chinese, which many do. Often times their discussions deal with figuring out whether a seemingly gender neutral character is a guy or girl or ravishing in the drawn out love triangles.

But, what’s the essential point here? It’s: why be a stereotype? Why read only one type of book or media? It only limits people’s perspectives on things. I also believe where book stereotypes begin, real life stereotypes follow. Maybe more readers should stray from their comfortable section of the library, grab a new book and break their book-stereotype. Besides, Who wants to only be one color in a world of black and white? Who wants to only read one book?