The beginning of the New Year brings with it a good opportunity to try new things. Since this blog’s creation in 2007, nonfiction has always dominated fiction, for my mission in life is to learn all I can about this world’s peoples and their philosophies. I have found the Internet an invaluable ally in this regard. As a way of making this blog more helpful to those of you who are also insatiably hungry for understanding, I’m introducing two new features here that are shortcuts to the good stuff!
1. Related vids
YouTube hosts an amazing amount of user-created content that can deepen appreciation for a subject, or introduce it in a more approachable way. So, for a few particular books, as I find especially helpful connections, I will share them here. For instance, I might share a short dramatized version of The Epic of Gilgamesh, or an educational clip that explains an especially intriguing concept from a book by its author, Most importantly, these will not random, but videos I have actually watched and can recommend earnestly.
This feature may appear as much as once per week to as little as once per month. As an example, suppose I read a book like Waiting on a Train. I might post something like this:
I encountered this clip last night; it is an eight minute review of why passenger rail fell off so dramatically in the mid-20th century, why it continues to languish, and why it is unlikely to make a major comeback outside of a couple of regions, unless something dramatic happens. I found it thorough and fair-minded, viewing as someone who would visit Europe purely for the trains but who realizes the enormous problem the country’s general sparseness poses for a iron-horse revival.
2. Podcast of the Week
Back in 2007, I used to download several podcasts per week,,, on a dial-up connection. I liked them that much, and still do. I listen/juggle to a great many podcasts, though I’m not married to any. Their subjects are diverse, so some I listen to as often as they publish, and some I only check with every week or every month. The majority of them are conversational, with a few being lecture-based and a couple being more panel-like, (My real-life restaurant-and-bar conversations tend to be more about cinema and current events than literature, alas, so I get my stimulating conversation vicariously.) Each week I intend to spotlight an especially good lecture or conversation. Some potential subjects: astronomy, bicycling, economics, geopolitics, history, skepticism, and urban planning,
Be warned: I’m especially fond of podcast conversations about books.
So, here’s to trying new things!