Poetically Versatile

Beautiful fallen word.

She may be well known for her novels but Ursula K Le Guin actually started out writing poetry and never stopped.

If you have only read her science fiction and are unfamiliar with her poetry you should do yourself a favor and locate her poetry. Her writing is beautiful and she has a real talent for weaving words together and creating some alluring poems.

She was a versatile writer. Her work is hard to classify. What she did was write and not worry about where her work would be slotted. She wrote novels, poems, letters, and even translations. She was a truly gifted and versatile author.

The book pictured above is one of her collections of poetry. She had 11 volumes in total. She spent sixty years writing so there is plenty of material from Ursula K Le Guin.

She spilled magic onto the blank page. Check out her poetry if you are interested.

Until next time, good reading.

You Choose!

Choice is a wonderful thing.

Choice is options and can be liberating, but sometimes choice is an illusion, and sometimes choice can lead to indecisiveness.

When I was a kid I used to read “Choose Your Own Adventure” books and I was fascinated with the option to choose my path in the story. Each choice lead me to imagine that I was the protagonist determining my own moves and effecting the outcome of the story. The option of choice I felt enhanced my imagination during reading.

The one drawback to these books was that sometimes your choice wouldn’t lead you very far and wasn’t that exciting and you would have to turn back and choose another option, but at least you had that freedom. You got to choose!

Those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books were trademarked but since the trademark has lapsed. Now there are other versions/brands of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” and readers have a variety of different stories. There are even versions like the one pictured above where you can be a protagonist in the story of Troy.

How many of you have read a “Choose” style book before? I am curious to know.

Have fun with your choices and until next time, good reading.

Opinion is Managed

Opinion is managed. Consent is manufactured. Deception is a way of life.

These three short sentences might not be comforting but they summarize what happens with you as a consumer of information with the media on a daily basis. We think we see real debate and neutral information on “our” news but we are deceived. News, whether it is Fox, MSNBC, CNN, or any news media outlet for that matter is more entertainment than information. And, remember, not only is it entertainment but it is a business.

Your” news channel is a business that generates revenue and profit not from bringing you information but by bringing you to the advertisements.

Today’s media aside from selling advertising space serves the purpose of safe-guarding your already held beliefs. “Your news channel doesn’t want to challenge your already formed ideology. It wants to be your comfort zone and keep you within an allotted mental parameter. Dissent is not allowed on “your” news and when you do think you see it with a certain guest it is more theater than challenge as the guests are hand picked to almost always be weaker in argument than the pundit of the network. This is carefully crafted deception. Public opinion is manufactured through the illusion of debate and confirmation bias and cherry-picking that passes for journalism.

Don’t take my word for it as this is just a blog but do your own questioning and watch the news with a critical mind.

Rachel Maddow is doing the same thing her audience believes Fox News does. Dinesh D’Souza is guilty of all of the same things in his film making as Michael Moore. Maybe your side is not right about everything. Maybe deception is cooked into more things then you realize. Maybe your opinion is not really your opinion but just the borrowed talking point of a business that earns money by selling advertising. How much do you really know about the opinion you have on a any subject? Maybe self-interest is the primary motivation for not only politics but news and business as well.

This post was written after reading books like Hate Inc., Into the Buzzsaw and authors like Ben Shapiro, Alan Dershowitz, Michael Parenti, and David Horowitz.

Until next time, good reading.

Variety and Resilience

The internet and social media have reshaped how consumers interact with content as well as the kinds of content they choose to consume. It might seem that digital content is in battle with traditional print media but both seem to be coexisting in the marketplace.

Readers still love their physical, tangible books. Some readers even prefer a printed book to it’s digital counterpart. Another area of the industry where this is still true is with magazines. Magazines are still going. Some users prefer traditional print magazines to their new digital alternative.

According to statista.com there are 7,357 magazines in the U.S and “data on magazine readership by format shows that U.S. consumers still prefer print magazines to digital.” The fastest growing genre of magazine in the United States currently is cannabis.

There seems to be a magazine for everything. If you are into cannabis there are plenty of magazines to choose from. If you are into walking there is a magazine for that. What some of these magazines are devoted to may seem absurd or silly but people are reading them.

Magazines are resilient. They are holding their own in this digital age. There is a variety of genres as well.

I still find them enjoyable and something I like to read in between books.

Until next time, good reading.

Inconspicuous Wealth

Have you ever wondered about wealth in America? Who has wealth? How do you get wealth?

If you have then you need to seek out the books by Thomas J. Stanley. His books are the result of legitimate research done on millionaires. He shows you who they are and how they earned their wealth. His books are data based. In doing so he debunks most of the misconceptions the average person holds about what a millionaire is and what a millionaire consumes.

He shows you that there is a difference between high income and wealth. A person who earns a lot of money every year is not necessary wealthy. His research also shows you that people who don’t earn a lot of money every year but consistently save through discipline can and do become wealthy.

I am excited by be reading his latest book which is co-authored with his daughter and builds upon even more data than the original. It is called The Next Millionaire Next Door.

We are all consumers and consumption is a major part of the book. If you are interested in personal finance, money, or consumer behavior then this is a read for you. Millionaires are usually people who practice frugality over hyper-consumption. You will discover that the consumer behavior of the average millionaire is extremely disciplined and far from flamboyant. In other words most self-made millionaires are inconspicuous instead of conspicuous.

These are go to books if wealth is anywhere on your radar. They will teach you valuable lessons to apply in your own life. I hope you enjoying discovering these lessons and learning of millionaire behaviors.

Until next time, good reading.

Personal Finances Keep it Simple

Well, it is a new year and there are changes going on so it’s time to update and modify my personal finances.

Now might be a good time for you to take a look at your finances.

I like to keep things simple.

Live on less than you earn, save the difference, and don’t go into debt.

Beyond that simple rule I like to read books that have a good reputation among the personal finance industry. For my yearly personal finance adjustments I like to stick to The Wall Street Journal Personal Finance Workbook by Jeff D. Opdyke. This great book covers all the basics and provides all of the worksheets you could possibly need to manage and track your finances. It is wonderful resource.

When it comes to your finances try and keep it simple, avoid the authors who promise things or try to sell you courses and seminars, and always do the math.

Until next time, good reading.

Orwell is buzzing again

In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it.”

The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears.”

In the light of recent events in this country the term “Orwellian” is being cast around with intense fervor. Book sales for 1984 are up again.

The issue once again with the buzz around Orwell is that many of the people using the term “Orwellian” are using the term incorrectly. For people who have actually read Orwell they can usually identify this inaccuracy but sadly, there are too many people who have not read Orwell and can’t identify this ignorant speculation.

The remedy for this is to read 1984.

The quote “In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it” is a nice example to use as a guage to determine if “Orwellian” is being used honestly and wisely.

Read the book!

Read the book. Don’t just Google the book or listen to what someone else says about the work. Read it!

The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears.”1984

What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what is happening.” – Donald J. Trump

Read the book!

Think, think, think.

Until next time, good reading.

Don’t Break Your Spine

Books are such a pleasure to read. The contents inside can inform, educate, entertain, and take your imagination to places unlike anywhere else.

The purpose of this blog post is not the contents inside a book but the actual physical book itself, and more specifically the spine.

The spine of the book is important because not only does it show off the title and pertinent information but because this is the area that binds all the pages together. This is the area of the physical book that receives all the abuse when you crack open the book and turn the pages. Now a hardcover is going to stand up better to this abuse than a paperback. So, the point here is what can you do to keep your books in good condition and how do you keep a book’s spine from cracking and having it’s appearance bruised and battered with white lines running down the length of the spine?

First! Practice good hygiene. Before you read make sure you wash your hands and rid your skin of any dirt, grease, oil, and debris that might damage, mark, or smudge the actual book and it’s pages. Simple. This is even more critical and necessary during this pandemic. Good hygiene goes a long way.

After washing and hygiene, opinion and practices vary widely on how to treat a paperback spine as to not damage it’s rectangular foundation. Some people can read a paperback and never have any problem with cracking the spine while other people experience problems. I myself have problems with thicker paperbacks as I usually damage them. Some people say to only open the pages slightly and not force them open all the way. If this works for you then great but sometimes you have to pry that book open wider. So, if wider is what you need then you can try holding your finger on the spine as you read to keep that spine flat to prevent cracking. You can also lay the book with it’s spine flat against a flat surface before reading and slowly push down a few pages on one side and then a few pages on the other side producing a ninety degree angle and repeat this step until you reach the middle of the book. This process is supposed to help stretch the book pages open helping prevent damage.

Be Gentle!

If you make sure you are bending the page and not the spine that will help ensure you don’t crack the spine. Also, don’t pull the book open with two hands. Just pull your book page open with one hand.

In addition to gentle handling there is the idea of storage and transportation to consider. In both of these cases it is best to avoid anything wet as your books are hydrophobic and easily damaged by water. Store and transport them in dry a place.

Now you have some tips on how to care for the spine of a book. Take care of your book but more importantly enjoy what is inside.

Until next time, good reading.

The Wonder of Things

Do you ever stop to wonder about the things you are using or the things around you?

If the answer is yes then you will love Theodore Gray’s latest book How Things Work: The Inner Life of Everyday Machines.

Most ideas and things don’t just originate completely out of the dark. There is inspiration involved. Ideas and things actually piggy-back off of prior ideas and things. In this book Gray shows us that many of the objects we take for granted provided the foundation for today’s civilization. For example, he shows how something like a padlock started out simple and evolved over time leading to the concept of computer encryption. A lock is an exclusionary device as it’s purpose is to keep things in and others out. A lock has become ever more complex from its simple origins to the point of being able to differentiate who should be let in and who should be kept out. Cryptography would not be possible without .

There is some fascinating information in this book about things. And, just like his other books, there is some illustrious photography that accompanies each object. What he did for the elements and science he now has done for things.

Now, if you will excuse me while I explore the inner workings of the weaving factory.

Until next time, good reading.

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