Print Story Taking Stock
Books
By LoppEar (Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 05:54:15 PM EST) (all tags)
catchup rambling on books and magazines and music.


Books

I've returned to E.P. Thompson's "The Making of the English Working Class", recommended and furnished from my wife's favorite history books several years ago. I had started, and nearly made it through the introductory 150 pages of this 850 page apparently classic history of early 19c working life and social movements. And stopped for a few years. Currently halfway through, it's dense readable research with a clear bent

The impetus for returning to this book was reading "Wobblies & Zapatistas", primarily by Staughton Lynd, who mentions E.P. Thompson glowingly at several points. An enjoyable lighter book [:)] and a quick read, lots of Lynd telling his life story of a young history professor involved in SNCC, then community organizing in Chicago, then labor legal service and documentarian work in Ohio steel mill towns. The framework of the book is a dialog between Lynd and Andrej Grubačić as representatives of Communism and Anarchism both interested in finding a synthesis that ultimately settles around a Marxist economic/class analysis disinterested in taking/building state power, instead seeking 'accompaniment' with the poor, very Liberation Theology and Zapatista inspired. Grubačić's motivation is more clearly to find a satisfying theory to pair with the 2000's New Anarchism visible in e.g. Occupy.

There is a bookstore around the corner from us here, The Wooden Shoe, that we finally stopped in this weekend. Volunteer-run 'anarchist collective' shop that's been here since '76. I half-joked that I hoped to find a regular evening gathering to sing Worker's Solidarity hymns, but in fact that's not far off, and it's quite nice inside. Great selection of books and zines, the only problem is that I just got my Amazon wishlist cleared out for my birthday this summer, and it happened to be filled with things like the above, and David Graeber's "Debt", James Scott "Seeing Like A State", etc, so I have a backlog of books exactly in their vein to get around to before I can justify picking up more reading along these lines. And S has several more waiting on our shelves already from her academic library: she added Benedict Anderson's "Imagined Communities" to my stack after seeing his new one yesterday.

I'm excited to escape into Iain Bank's new one when it comes through at the library.

Periodicals

"Harpers" is currently my only subscription. Years of the right mix of commentary and literature for me, after a brief hesitation when Lapham stepped down the editorial arc and care is still hitting exactly the considered, cynical, and beautiful spot.

As I considered whether to renew "Harpers" briefly this summer I looked around for variations, I'm still considering a subscription to "Jacobin", "Granta", "n+1", "The Atlantic", or "Dissent". Of those, n+1 and Atlantic have regular appearances in my online reading.

For the last few years I've subscribed to various professional organizations mostly for the reading material, first ACM and then AAAS. Really enjoyed Science as a second steady dead-tree read. But decided not to renew in the busyness of the move and uncertainty about whether to give up physical paper. I'm clearly not there yet.

Online

I've used Google Reader for a long time, such that it can tell me I've read 255,839 items, which works out to an all-time average of 1700/month - over time that's been as high as 5000/month, but twitter has become a strong secondary link source. I currently have 350 feeds in GR, about twice as many as two years ago, but I have trimmed down noisy ones regularly. I'd hazard that feeds are about evenly split in terms of volume and my attention between news, commentary, aspirational projects, and individual bloggers with clear biases towards science and software development interests.

"The Browser" stepped up at a good point to be an aggregate source for me, and  many of you it seems. Otherwise, mostly direct publication or author sources.

I track the books I read on Goodreads, a low enough bar to usually rate and sometimes review such that I've accidentally managed to keep a complete book reading log for the last 5 years. Steadily reading more, though I can't race through books like many friends.

E-reading

I still don't have an ebook reader or tablet, and I still don't know when I'm going to resolve the question of starting to accumulate a digital library instead of the bulky one we currently carry around, whether when moving or just the physical books I carry when travelling. I just can't yet accept the change in license terms if I start getting my books online, and I'm not ready to switch just for those that I can get DRM-free. But I can tell the day is coming when this carrying-around-paper thing is going to be stupidly anachronistic.

Still love the library. I know most libraries are starting to have ebook collections, but I'm wary of guessing how long it'll take to tip to if I need something from the library it probably will be electronic. Seachange.

Shipping books to me, whether Amazon or the local bookstore, is a stupid outdated thing though, it can't last.

Music

I did shift my music buying to all-digital many years ago, though still centered around buying full albums and with a soft piracy line for older things and previewing albums that I'm on the fence about.

Bandcamp represents the ideal technical and economic implementation of my style of music purchasing at this time.

A lot of friends have made the switch to Rdio or Spotify, but similar to the book situation I'm still too attached to having a certain level of license and library collection, rather than simply legal access to something for my ears. On the other end, I don't have a turntable so while local record stores are something I would otherwise consider - easy download with purchase seems standard these days - I don't quite have the motivation.

We split our yearly music budget about evenly between music festivals, live shows, and album purchases.

My Last.fm history is my longest-running digital tracking, and other than listening in the car is perhaps 90% complete over those 8 years. As with all the others bits of accumulated data about my habits, I haven't done much of anything with the data.

This morning I finally sat down and configured abcde so that I can start a final push: my wife moved her music collection (~120 CDs) here but it'll be the last time. One combined digital music collection going forward here, and for the first and last time this is now as simple as putting the CD in the media computer and pushing a button. Very futuristic I tell you.

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ctd by LoppEar (2.00 / 0) #1 Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 06:23:10 PM EST
A few more specifics;

The latest Harper's "Democracy was murdered, and you should really vote for Obama anyways" theme is of course right where I'm at. I've been telling myself he's a shoo-in, talked with a slightly more pessimistic Dem this weekend who's really concerned with relative turnout. Trust me, voting for Obama is about all the energy I'm willing to give to the national political scene these days, cheerleading for these guys is not something I can get worked up about anymore.

Really happy with the new Animal Collective album, and from earlier in the year Jack White, Gotye, and The Shins. etc.


Haven't bought a physical CD in years. by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #2 Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 09:00:30 AM EST
"Face the Promise" by Seger may have been the last one.

New books I usually buy as e-books, and I've been replacing old paperbacks that are coming apart with e-books. Some of the paperbacks are so old that they've fallen into the public domain. But Hole in the Wall books, a used book store specializing in SF, is less than a mile away. So my shelves aren't getting any emptier. Some new books I get in hardcopy, because e-book readers do such an awful job with illustrations.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

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