Saturday, July 6, 2013
I have just read a book (The Shallows) that concerns itself with reading- which leads me to think on the act, function and method of reading (tangentially, writing). The other book I am reading (Douglas of the Forests) is composed mostly of what the scholarly folks call 'primary texts.' I began to read it so that I could make a list. A flora and fauna list, in fact, but lists and writing I'll leave for the nonce; back to reading: Douglas of the Forests is made up of journal entries by 19th century Scots naturalist David Douglas (Douglas Fir, Douglas Iris, etc.- Douglas first brought California Poppy seeds to Europe). Reading these entries is a little laborious, because it isn't written as a narrative. It's more a list of events; crammed with data that doesn't assist the flow of time represented by the entries. What do I mean by that? Well, weather details, and when, and to whom Douglas wrote a letter (it continues hot; near a week of smothering heat here; I wrote to Mme. B., but have not yet received reply).
Now, where were we?
Yes, reading. You mustn't take my word for it. Read The Shallows for yourself... it's excellent. I know, I am always asking for your time: look at this, listen to that, read this, make that. So perhaps a suggestion for prioritizing these recommendations? If you do but one thing, make it spinning, if two, let it be to play guitar, if three, read The Shallows.
So, another so: Why should one do these things? The answer? To improve.
The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr.
Douglas of the Forests, by John Davies.
*- for the taxonomist and musicologist, this song was not written to Eschscholzia Californica, but to the Papaver genus, or what you might call Oriental Poppies.