There was an interesting editorial by Norman Mailer in the newspaper last week: PARADE Magazine | One Idea (Norman Mailer)–January 23, 2005. While he spends a little too much time praising the current educational reform effort, his “one idea” is the need to eliminate commercial interruptions on television, because they interrupt the narrative of the programs, and attention to narrative is an important part of reading literacy.
“In the early years of television, it was even hoped that the attention children gave to TV would improve their interest in reading. Indeed, it might have if TV, left to itself, consisted of uninterrupted narratives. That, of course, was soon not the case. There were constant interruptions to programs
Here’s what I’ve been reading this past month:
The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett. #56 on the Modern Library list. Actually I may have read this in December. Speculation why book is on list: Sam Spade is an archetype private eye. This type of book is more important for its influences on cinema than for any literary qualities, a story that doesn’t claim any deep significance.
In the spring of 2004 I attended a printmaking studio and produced an artist book titled “Hello world”. It is a big floppy cloth book with text and images from computer culture. I have just posted images of the book in my online art gallery, and you can view the book here.
Best read, non-fiction: Teach Yourself Electricity and Electronics, 3rd edition, by Stan Gibilisco. Over the summer I spent a fair amount of time mucking around with a pile of resistors and capacitors, trying to make an LED flash. As a student, I took a lot of math classes, but the only physics class I ever had was as a high school junior, so now, many years later, I find there was actually a reason for learning how to do differential equations. Gibilisco’s book is a sizeable 800 pages, but well organized into short chapters for easy reading. If you’re trying to teach yourself electronics, I’d suggest getting both this book and Getting Started in Electronics by Forrest M. Mims III. If you’re having difficulty figuring out something in one book, the other might have a better explanation.
Worst read, non-fiction: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi, 1990. Comments here. Complete rubbish, made worse by the fact that the concept appeals to some academics.