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Vigilant monitoring of stairs and front door.

We are back. We avoided the various storms. Still so much flooding in southern Iowa and northwestern Missouri along the river.

Normal posting will resume shortly.

Friday photo

Still elegant after all these years.

It was 90F yesterday in San Francisco, according to the National Weather Service. I believe it. I had on a sleeveless shirt and a skort. In August! Karl the Fog, why have you forsaken us? Come back, we miss you.

Friday photo

Agave asparagus flowering

The end is near.

Note that the agave at the base of the stalk is dead or dying. The spear itself is turning brown and starting to lean more. But the flowers are still nice.

It’s had an excellent run

ReaderWriterLinks

Andy Miller, who runs the Booklisted podcast among other things, writes a funny piece about being shamed, or at least mildly chastised, for the number of books he’s read. The fact that this happened at a book festival adds a special valence to the experience.

Now. Making an audience at a literary festival boo you for reading books is clearly some kind of shit achievement. And in one respect, I was not entirely telling the truth. In the year in question, I had not read ‘something like’ [XXX] books; I knew it was precisely [XXX] books. Why did I equivocate? Perhaps I sensed at that moment that the crowd was turning against me and it was necessary to self-deprecate as a matter of urgency. But that ‘something like’ was nothing like enough. What I should have said was ‘I don’t know exactly how many! A lot! I don’t get out much haha! Hahaha!’ And the audience, sniffing the air, would have turned its slavering attention to Lionel Shriver or someone and lumbered off in pursuit of where she gets her ideas from.

It’s true that if you cut down your time online and fill your discretionary time with reading, you can get through a lot of books. I certainly read more now than I did when I was more active on Twitter and Dear Author. But there is a performative aspect to telling people how much you read that is very much part of the online age (after all, this started because of Miller’s tweets). We don’t just read, we tell people we read, and not just what it is and what we thought of it, but where it fits in our total reading experience. I’m not sure where to draw the line between interaction and performance, but they aren’t the same thing.


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