Just look what people are doing. Flying a solar-powered plane across America. Planning a permanent colony on Mars. Planting guerrilla gardens. The ability of people to imagine, invent and just make things happen never fails to amaze me. Whenever I’m feeling discouraged or cynical about my species, I must remind myself of how incredible we can be.
Gain some perspective with these gorgeous photos of nebulas: Hubble and Hershel show the Horsehead Nebula in a spectacular new light.
“Non-reading is not just the absence of reading. It is a genuine activity, one that consists of adopting a stance in relation to the immense tide of books that protects you from drowning. On that basis, it deserves to be defended and even taught.”
How To Talk About Books You Havent Read on Brain Pickings is a great piece that helped crystallize some ideas that had been swirling around in my brain. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I will read, what I will read next and whether I should continue reading what I am reading now. My reading time is limited, and I want to spend it in the best way possible for me. Since I’ve become so conscious of what I read, I have consistently read books that I have enjoyed more and that have made me think more.
There is that tinge of guilt that comes with not reading something, especially if it is a deliberate choice. I really ought to read ______ (fill in the blank with important literary work here). Well, this post banished all those guilty feelings. I can read, not read, skim, give up, just read the review in the NYT, as I choose, because it all becomes part of my collective library. Even the books that I don’t read have meaning to me.
The post even provides a system of categorization of unread books: unknown, skimmed, heard about, forgotten. Those books too may be weighted on a scale from an extremely positive opinion to extremely negative. I immediately put this rating scale into practice when going through my library and trying to decide what to read or reread next. A forgotten book associated with an extremely positive feeling got put on my “to read” shelf, while one with a negative or even neutral opinion was placed in the donate pile, as I knew I wouldn’t want to reread it.
I realize that not everyone delves so deeply into their reading life as to categorize books they haven’t even read yet, but it is a comfort to know that I am not the only one to do so. Indeed, there is a whole book dedicated to the subject. To be truthful, I probably won’t read that book, since this summary on Brain Pickings gave me all the food for thought I needed.
Following right on the announcement of the demise of our beloved Google Reader, Google announces Google Keep, a note-taking app. I haven’t tried it because I already use Springpad, and I’m reluctant to move everything over to a new app. Springpad also organizes my notes nicely into virtual notebooks; I’m not sure if Keep does this or if it’s more like sticky notes, which, quite frankly, fails to wow me.
A bigger question for me is what if I do start using Google Keep and grow to depend on it, and then Google kills it off? Many others have had similar thoughts, and an article at the Guardian predicts, based on an analysis of the average lifespan of Google products that are eventually killed off, that Google Keep will last about 4 years. “And then either your data will die, or it will have to be collected and then toted around like an old sofa, which will then have to be pushed up the stairs into a new service.”
Many of us can remember Google Notebook, which wasn’t the greatest note-taking application, but which I used because it integrated with all my other Google things. Where is it now? In the Google Graveyard, where Reader will soon be laid to rest.
Speaking of reinventing things that seemed obsolete, check out how this typewriter has been modified to create art.
In this rapidly changing world, you must reinvent yourself or die. While I am thinking about how to reinvent myself, I am inspired by how others are doing it.
Take, for example, libraries, which will always be an important and relevant part of the human community, in my opinion. Here are two ways in which libraries are reinventing themselves in this age of the e-book: opening makerspaces, or space within the library where people can come together and learn how to make things; and loaning out seeds, much as they loan out books, for planting local gardens. Isn’t it interesting how, as our culture becomes increasingly digital and “in the cloud,” libraries are preserving old ways of doing things, such as making things with our hands and growing our own food?
Our library just got these cool self-checkout devices that look and act like something out of a sci-fi movie (they even glow blue!). I worried that they might put the librarians out of a job, but they said they would have more time to introduce new programs and services if they didn’t have to check out books. I’m excited to see what they will do. If you haven’t checked in on your local library lately, why not pay them a visit and see what they’re up to? Show your local library some love!