four walls, no walls, you and me.

on books n things
June 25, 2008, 12:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’ve had a lot on my mind recently. Some things are trivial and not worth mentioning, while others are too young and vulnerable to be sent out into the great blogosphere. One thought recently, and one that recurs almost every summer, has to do with books and reading.

Nearly every summer, whether I’m working or taking classes or chillin like a california villain, I inevitably make my weekly retreat to the Cerritos Public Library. I also inevitably complain to everyone who will listen about how frustrated I am that despite the $22 million renovation, seemingly none of that money went toward acquiring books. Instead, the library was outfitted with new sound-proof study stations, new computers and Eames chairs, a gold leaf roof, a giant fish tank with live shark…. et cetera. All of this is fine and does a great job of impressing visiting friends from out of town but really, I’d gladly trade it for four concrete walls and a well stocked catalog.

It also occurs to me every summer, that few people share this same love. Most of my friends (well, most of my friends who were born and raised in California) rarely read for pleasure. Those who do will nurse a book for months (which is fine) or only read when they are stuck at LAX waiting for a flight (and even then, mostly magazines, with the exception of Mer who reads Murakami). A big part of me feels like such a geek for hiding from the sun and whiling away my summer hours inside with a book. But then again…who cares?

My friend and fellow reader Jacob shared an article he read about the Google Effect on reading and brain function. Pretty scary stuff. You can read it here: What’s even more scary is that I do read, and STILL I found myself victim to the Google mind warp. Honestly, I made it to the end of the article but only because I was determined to not close the page until I saw the end, and even then I couldn’t tell you with any great accuracy what the last half of the article said.

Another related thought is I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that I am a book whore. I read books from the library and immediately regret not having bought it instead. I cannot leave a bookstore empty handed. Book sales and second hand bookstores are up there among my list of vices. Art books in particular are a strange group. I cannot stop buying art books. Every specialized topic, every artist, every era, every city, I want to know it’s role. I have an entire shelf of books on or relating to art and I have not read most of them. Yet I keep buying more and more.

I used to feel a tinge of guilt whenever my gaze happend to scan across the piles of books on my bedroom floor. I knew instinctively that I needed these things, even if I didn’t necessarily need to read them cover to cover. And then this article: It was as if I meet myself 20 years later. The same pride, the same disarray, the same specialized OCD, the same irreverence, the same lust for tactile pleasure, the same bizarre sense of memory. And he teaches history of photography! No wonder I felt like we were kindred spirits!

Of course, my love for the written word may also have something to do with the fact that the library is airconditioned and sometimes I just need alone time and secretly love being a hermit. Again, these are just a few thoughts….


1 Comment so far
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nice post, thanks for the shoutout.

Comment by j. daniel

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