books

the archivist June 16, 2013

  “The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may […]

the archivist May 24, 2013

“The buying of more books than one can perchance read is nothing less than the soulreaching toward infinity, and this passion is the only thing that raises us above the beasts that perish.” — A. Edward Newton (1863-1940) … It occurred to me earlier today that I haven’t sold any books, CDs, or DVDs on […]

the archivist April 25, 2013

“Oho, now I know what you are. You are an advocate of Useful Knowledge.” “Certainly.” “You say that a man’s first job is to earn a living, and that the first task of education is to equip him for that job?” “Of course.” “Well, allow me to introduce myself to you as an advocate of […]

the archivist April 22, 2013

I love, love, love T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets (previously). The words, “We shall not cease from exploration” give me goosebumps every time I read them. How does one take those words to heart, to take a visceral experience and illuminate the everyday tedium with it? To just not cease from exploration? Can it be that […]

the archivist April 9, 2013

“The truth is, everyone likes to look down on someone. If your favorites are all avant-garde writers who throw in Sanskrit and German, you can look down on everyone. If your favorites are all Oprah Book Club books, you can at least look down on mystery readers. Mystery readers have sci-fi readers. Sci-fi can look […]

the archivist December 31, 2012

Many years ago this was a thriving, happy planet – people, cities, shops, a normal world. Except that on the high streets of these cities there were slightly more shoe shops than one might have thought necessary. And slowly, insidiously, the number of the shoe shops were increasing. It’s a well-known economic phenomenon but tragic […]

the archivist November 30, 2012

That’s my Middle West—not the wheat or the prairies or the lost Swede towns, but the thrilling returning trains of my youth, and the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark and the shadows of holly wreaths thrown by lighted windows on the snow. –F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby  

the archivist July 9, 2012

Italo Calvino is a favorite of mine; here’s his definition of what makes a book a “classic,” from Why Read the Classics? The classics are the books of which we usually hear people say, “I am rereading . . . ” and never “I am reading . . . “ We use the words “classics” […]

the archivist February 3, 2012

A few days ago, I finally finished Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. The fact that it took me so long to read a book about typewriters, the internet, psychology, and other things I love probably proves Carr’s point better than anything I can write here. So here are […]

the archivist March 26, 2011

It started, as many things do, with Metafilter. Someone posted a link to a story which quickly engaged me (at one of those thesis-work moments during which I want nothing more than to be distracted), about a blogger facing down her stalker. It was a gripping and well-written story–I read every part in one sitting. […]