Books as Substitution for Television

May 15, 2008 | By | 4 Replies More

As I wallowed in my last bout of withdrawal from television over the last few weeks, I read a few books. I regularly join QPB to get a handful of books for about $25, and then cancel after fulfilling the membership requirement. I also have a few hundred well-worn science fiction paperbacks, and some in hardcover. Those are comfort reading; familiar meanders through futures that haven’t come to pass.

I most recently completed “A Briefer History of Time“. This survey of cosmology from the ancients through the latest theories of everything is easier to read and understand than the original. Even less math, better images, and more up-to-date science. It is briefer, yet covers more than the original.

I’d read “Molecules at an Exhibition” before that. It was weaker than Emsley’s previous book, but still a fun survey of everyday molecules that one doesn’t usually think about.

I finally read “The God Delusion” in one part of the house while reading “Two Complete Novels” by Douglas Adams in another. To my surprise, Dawkins cited one of these Adams novels in his book. They balanced each other: One never quite getting to a point, and the other never letting go of one. Both worth reading. But beware of mental whiplash if you too try to read ’em in tandem.

My recent comfort books were an odd collection: Oath of Fealty and Fallen Angels by Niven, Pournelle, and/or Flynn, and The End of Eternity and The Gods Themselves by Asimov, and Heinlein’s 1948 “Space Cadet“, among others.

I also skimmed through my Doonesbury collections, reliving election commentary for Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr, Clinton, Shrub, and all their opponents. I have the original college Doonesbury collection. Those strips are from before syndicate censors and wordsmiths denuded and dumbed it down for mainstream newspapers.

I also read some don’t-bothers, like Maher’s “New Rules” and Carlin’s “Napalm and Silly Putty”.


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Category: Reading - Books and Magazines, Whimsy

About the Author ()

A convoluted mind behind a curly face. A regular traveler, a science buff, and first generation American. Graying of hair, yet still verdant of mind. Lives in South St. Louis City. See his personal website for (too much) more.

Comments (4)

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  1. Ben says:

    Here is a movie which I recommend:

    "The Counterfeiters"

    Its about WWII and takes place in a concentration camp, about a skilled counterfeiter who is "forced" to do bidding for the Nazis. it won the oscar for best foreign language film.

    "In exchange for their labor Saloman and his colleagues are given extraordinary privileges: civilian clothing, weekly showers, sheets and pillows on their beds. And this fragile good fortune provides “The Counterfeiters” with its ethical center of gravity. The questions Mr. Ruzowitzky poses are both stark and complicated. How much cooperation with evil is justified in the name of survival? How can the imperative to stay alive compete with the obligations to help others, and to oppose injustice?"

  2. Dan Klarmann says:

    Why is Ben pasting a WWII themed film synopsis on this post?

  3. Ben says:

    Does watching a movie (made from book) count as TV?

  4. Dan Klarmann says:

    I see the original response was shortened and contextualized. Less paste and more link. Much better. I too sometimes substitute movies for the escapist cravings of media withdrawal.

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