Before I get to the item at hand, I will admit that this beard is in desperate need of attention. Apologies.
Now for the things discussed in this episode or you to peruse:
1) First things first: Add me on snapchat @ amirmotlagh
2) My article on DIY Film in the Digital Age, a part of the Mastering Film Series published by Focal Press can be found here:
3) My favorite book purchase this week is Cool Tools by Kevin Kelly. I absolutely love having this thing on the coffee table:
As always, please subscribe to the Youtube Channel and come say hello.
For several years, after college, I was on a regime of "one book" at a time. In those days, it was mostly classical literature or a book on film/writing craft.
I was in the habit of reading before bed, or occasionally, in the afternoon when I had some free time, over coffee.
I'd often wonder how we collectively (students) went through several books at the same time in college, and the answer now, so obvious, was because of necessity.
Jump to about two years ago, when I had a sudden revelation that my reading frequency had dipped to an all time low, and was consumed with a year of MOBY DICK (the year before, WAR AND PEACE). One book, a whole year.
At this time, I came to a reading breakpoint (yes, this is not so dramatic). Rather I can wallow in the dead poetics society, or, get the fuck out of this habit, and open the mind to new ideas.
I picked up a non-fiction business book. Something I had never done in my life. Why? I was pulled in that direction but that's another story.
But since then, I upped my reading to an average of around 40-50 books per year in the last few. I understand that this is below some overachievers, but the mean of the average American Adult's book count, according to this 2013 PEW study is 12. With a median at a paltry 5 (still more than my MOBY DICK year).
So, what's my method? It's all in a system based on formats, and multiple books at the same time.
For short non-fiction, I use ebooks. For things on the more motivational front, audiobooks is my preferred format. For tougher, more esoteric material, a good ol fashion analog book. For longer non-fiction, or any books on craft or technique or where you need to write information down, analog. For fiction, again, analog mostly, unless it's the size of a novella or shorter, and then it would be read in the ebook format.
So, I read a hardcover in the AM, listen to an audiobook in the car and on a jog. On an afternoon break, or at night, I'm on the Ipad with an ebook. I average about 3 books simultaneously, and can push to a max of 4.
Personally for me, at this moment, I could not read 3 books at the same time in the same format. This switch in format is both contextual, and tacit, and lets my brain welcome new content throughout the day.
One last thing: I love owning books. While I've come to love ebooks and find them superior on many levels especially for it's ease in annotation, I find myself having to buy the analog version as well if I really enjoyed the work, just to make this situation feel real. This is a problem financially.
The book is old analog. It's technology is without a doubt, one of the most important items in the human catalog.
Books are the enablers. The perfect informational passing device.
Almost always a perfect gift.
Books are not CD's. Books are not DVD's. Although, people love to include them in there analogies of the death of physical media.
However, those forms were never necessary to the origins of their own particular media. Cinema needs other devices for transmission. Music the same. These forms always change. In many ways, and even with hard earned consumer consistency, they are not standalone. How many music delivery systems have come and gone?
The physicality of a book includes all of it. The written word was always meant to be passed along, in it's final form. it duplication is always scaleable. Not from the beginning of course, but still, it could have been duplicated somehow, with errors, money and hard work.
And even though, the scalability of music and cinema can lend itself to other product forms, they will never be perfect. Because its delivery origins are not seamless. Music has always been a live format. Cinema, was birthed in exhibition. One ticket, one play. No pause, reverse, repeat.
The book, in it's final physicality is the delivery. It's a perfect system. Yes, it can have an uglier digital counterpart, but it's essence is it's form. And, only for environmental reasons would it ever go away.
But, that CD you're holding, or that Criterion DVD you just bought, or that new XBOX game you stole, well, that's not going to be around. So, build your collections now you geeks and nerds. Show them off to your kids, who will marvel at that lo-fucking fidelity that you and I loved so much.
I'm always surprised to learn a great majority of people I come across only devote scattered time to reading short form articles or magazines. I'm even more surprised (stupefied) to learn that individuals who are capable, do not read period.
Even professionals; from nice suit and tie wearing lawyers, to some physicians, to a couple of sales execs, and from my side of it, people who do art as a "hobby", only commit to reading short form (web, magazine articles, etc). You know, things that are easily skimmed, that do not require any of that analytical processing shit.
I say, art as "hobby", because I've yet to find a “full time” artist who doesn't commit to reading as a habit. Mostly fiction I might add. Same goes for the entrepreneurs I've come across. They however, are strictly tied to non-fiction. That’s just how they role.
People who I know, and whom amaze me most often, are also the ones who are avid readers. And, they’re diverse readers. They swallow up books, and they take notes, and they apply concepts into their own existence (if the particular type of book demands it).
Look around yourself. Find any correlation? If not, go outside your circle a little. Maybe being the average of your 5 closest friends is blinding you from others?