The Knight Is In His Castle

img_0041It’s been a crazy few weeks. The construction on my new rooms at my daughter’s house forced me to relocate with my dogs. Luckily there was a place offering small suites with kitchenette and dog privileges so I moved in there for about ten days. Although I had internet access and plenty of digital texts on my iPhone and iPad, I had limited tools to keep up on most of my online life, including this website.

I, unfortunately, never accomplished the dream of reading dozens of books while sequestered in that lonely, quite room. I tried watching television and quasi-enjoyed two movies but for the most part the television was turned off and I continued listening to old-time radio mysteries on my iPhone.

I did read some—finished two novels—but mostly just stared at the screen with Sam Spade solving crimes in the background.

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In the Beginning Was the List

images-1.jpgOh, gone are the years when I stayed up until one o’clock, went to work the next day for 10 or 12 hours, came home, made dinner, played with my kid, and still read as many almost 200 books a year, not counting all the really exciting stuff I had to read for work.

Of course now I have to use a magnifying glass to read, I’m retired but it takes me 10 minutes to get up from my desk and walk into the bathroom, I still make dinner, but my daughter is now a professor at the University … oh, and my reading is just shy of 100 books a year.

I am beginning to worry about that 1001 Books You Must Read … challenge.

But I still make lists and try to focus my reading within a fairly narrow pool of books I have already collected on my bulging bookshelves (or nowadays on my trusty iPad).

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Big Fat Books

Have you noticed this?

Books are steadily increasing in size, according to a survey
that has found the average number of pages has grown by 25%
over the last 15 years.

Booker2015I have to agree but as the article in The Guardian conjectures, this may have something to do with the growth of electronic readers and digital editions. About ten years ago I experienced a painful strained wrist and coincidentally read The Tale of Genji: do you suspect there was a connection?

I have always treated big fat books differently from the more manageable volumes. Until fairly recently the size of the book was involved in my decision whether I bought the book or whether I requested it at the local library. Big books took longer to read, so to avoid those exorbitant library fines, I often would simply buy the book and take my time reading it.

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Having Drank the Apple Juice

AppleIn 1977 I bought my first Apple computer: a venerable Apple ][ with 48K of memory and eventually my first floppy disk drive (at work we had eight inchers but this was 5.25).That Apple ][ lasted me several years and was eventually replaced by an IBM clone and later sold to a friend for his daughter. During its life I added a memory card (another 16K!!!), a modem card (300 Baud, no doubt), and learned Pascal when Apple made it available. It’s hard to believe now but I had a custom suitcase that allowed me to carry my Apple ][ with three disk drives and a bunch of other stuff which I used when I took my computer to work (there were no personal-type computers where I worked even though I was in the Computer Department). I loved my Apple ][ and the IBM clone only lasted a few months before I was severely strapped for cash and had to sell the whole thing to an accountant who needed to run Lotus 1-2-3.

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