Category Archives: reading

review – dead pig collector

20130809-235805.jpgA concise, intriguing work by Warren Ellis. It’s just as much a meditation on Los Angeles culture as it is a study in psychological, perhaps cultural detachment. Too short for a thorough plot overview, Ellis’s hits some really interesting observations here. About Los Angeles, his principal musing being a city without a center or identity; that in some ways it’s much like Beijing with its subtly encroaching desert and scrubland whenever you need it, especially when in possession of a few industrious seconds. His characterization and interplay is tense, centering around the focused Mister Sun, and atypical valley girl Amanda, bright but a bit too naively enthusiastic. Her shock of the events is muted by the allure to his stoic fastidiousness in such an unconventional situation. It is in this increasingly unquiet crisscross whereby Ellis invites subtle comparison and wonder of modern America with China, and their approach to common problems no one wants to acknowledge. Really though, it concentrates on the idea of the human need for self-direction, and the chilling deliberation of whether the heart is more than mere mechanism.

too much too fast

Very interesting thought piece about the emergence of the slow reading movement:

Now and then the Nietzsches of the world have fought back. Exponents of New Criticism captured the flag in the halls of academe around the middle of the last century and made “close reading” all the rage. Then came Slow Food, then Slow Travel, then Slow Money. And now there is Slow Reading. In all these initiatives, people have fought against the velocity of modern life by doing … less and doing it slower. In that regard, the Slow Reading movement is hardly a movement at all. There’s no letterhead, no board of directors, and horrors, no central Web site—there are Web sites, several, in fact, all of them preaching, in various ways, the virtues of reading slowly. But mostly the “movement” is just a bunch of authors, schoolteachers, and college professors who think that just maybe we’re all reading too much too fast and that instead we should think more highly of those who take their time with a book or an article.

As one who reads slowly by default, I, biased as such, find merit in the movement, though I would hesitate with the “too much too fast” theme.  Feeling bound by my professional and recreational proclivities, I would argue that one can not read too much; however, the pace at which we read is something we should monitor continually, for the reader’s dilemma is that one will inevitably face the choice of speeding through their reading so as to lessen an ever expanding to-be-read list, which appears an attempt in futility. Perhaps like the piece alludes to, there are other behaviors that we can model our reading pace on, for instance slower eating, or even perhaps sex. Nobody wants that to finish too quickly, no? Perhaps the phrase should be reworded: very much too fast, or simply: much too fast.