Posts in: Reading

Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching by U. Le Guin

Finished reading, with satisfaction: Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way by Ursula K. Le Guin 📚 But like, I’m going to have read it ten more times at least. There is an extra dollop of mystery in this poetry, and calling it that seems to be understating it. I’m not even sure what to say right now, so much good stuff here.

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A few quick thoughts after having just finished The Grail by B. Doyle

Finished reading yesterday, with satisfaction: The Grail: A year ambling & shambling through an Oregon vineyard in pursuit of the best pinot noir wine in the whole wild world by Brian Doyle 📚 It is, as Brian Doyle says, “a thirsty book.” In just one sentence: a great many enjoyable personal essays on the growing and making of the Lange Estate wines. And really it did make me want to head out and pick up one or several bottles of pinot noir from all around, Oregon or elsewhere, because that is a wine that I do enjoy, among others.

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Oh oh, oh! Dracula Daily began today! I don’t know why I am so excited about this! Maybe it’s the travelogue nature of the beginning, or the comparison of weathers I mean, the experience of comparing and contrasting my weather against the atmosphere of the book, which I assume will follow some seasonal trend and be called out. Just a guess on my part.I’ll be having over the next 6 months (weather: I’m a fan). I plan to do some realtime commenting on the reading too.

Started reading: Dracula (Norton Critical Editions) by Bram Stoker 📚. Nicely formatted ebook from Standard EBooks if you’re into that.

The things I noted in the first day’s reading: the food (I see cooking opporutnities here), the locations, the corporeal inhabitedness, Harker mentions how he slept, and talks about food, and not wanting to miss the train. It seems all very personal/experiential, and immediate. and the sense of mystery and even a bit of calamity. The world is being set before me, and I don’t know which of the possibilities is a probability. It was only a couple of pages worth. The annotations in the Norton Critical Edition help and also distract a bit.

Anybody want to start a reading club?

Lena @ Things of Interest is a short-ish piece of sci-fic posing as something like a Wikipedia article. It’s about the first successful brain image create in the year 2031. I’d say the piece is a success because my reaction was “oh god, the horror.” And this is not a piece of horror sci-fi.

Have you read Lena? What did you think?

Abandoned reading: The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain by Annie Murphy Paul 📚. I was reading this book on my iPad with Apple Books.

I approached it with the mindset that these ideas are options for me to consider in my own mind practice, and there were a number of interesting ideas. But yesterday I had to admit to myself that it is time to abandon my comittment to reading this book. I have to do the same with another book it was partnered with, but I’ll get to that another day. I think I read about 30-40% of the book before my calculations told me a sustained effort would require more energy than I had to give it at this time. I will keep it around for the option to browse different sections look for useful tidbits.

I found the idea of the Magpie Mind to be a useful one for understanding how I assemble bigger ideas from whatever is around. Want better ideas? Have better stuff around. Also remember to pause and examine the ideas you have constructed.

I also found the ideas discussed around the poured paintings of Jackson Pollock to be really helpful for inspecting and understanding some things about my own computer art practice that had been quite mysterious to me. My random search for what works and what doesn’t work for me will probably be much more effective with this clue.

There are many other ideas that were also useful and that I will continue to personally explore. You can get a pretty good sense of the type of ideas from Ezra Klein’s podcast with the author.

But some sections were less obviously plausible. I did not see the connection to thinking in groups in the tale about the aircraft carrier and the sailboat. If one of you did find a connection there, I would listen. There was also quite a bit of text related to the ideas presented that I didn’t feel added all that much; some stories about trainings and their audiences that I didn’t think clarified what I was to do with the idea at all. Maybe it’s just me.

Now, some comments about the (virtual) book itself as an object. This is a thing that I care about and might explore at a later time. One thing that I greatly appreciated the author and publisher for including is rich end notes. I was able to use these to track down more technical materials on some of the concepts that had been diluted beyond recovery in the book. Those breadcrumbs are invaluable. However, I’ve seen it done in an easier to use way in Apple Books before, and the increased friction was an annoyance. I have nothing else worth mentioning in my review of the experience of reading the book on an iPad.

Did you read The Extended Mind? What did you think of it?

Found out about Dracula Daily, a Substack that will mail out the contents of the book on the dates that they happen. That starts next week, May 3. I’ve not read Dracula before, so I’m kind of excited about this. Got me a hard copy too: Dracula (Norton Critical Editions) 📚.

In general I enjoy an episodic driven story. The Name of the Rose has a time driven story, and for me it adds an extra dimension to read it around the time of the year that it happens (late November, if I recall correctly).

Anybody have suggestions of other good writing like this? There are some suggestions on the Epistolary novel wikipedia page, but that focuses more on the document aspect of the novel materials, rather than the time/season aspect.