Friday December 31, 2004 at 12:35 PM
Books not Blogs
Appearing in Blogging & Writing
And so here I again find myself, facing the waning hours of a twelve-month cycle, the tyranny of the calendar demanding of me a contemplative look back at the preceding 351 days. Turning the last page on my 2004 calendar, the temptation to talk of disappointment, lost opportunities, and dangerous portents is obviously great. I am loath to pursue such a path however, if for no other reason than that it seems to futile.
Instead, I prefer to reflect for a moment, on a lesson I fear we have failed to learn: the importance of the printed word. Not the written word, not the spoked word, not the Web-enabled-easily-searchable-quickly-scannable-readily-repeatable-online-word: the printed word.
Somewhere in the middle of the past twelve months, just as the blogosphere was crowding its way into the public debate, I quietly re-discovered books. And owing to that re-discovery I can tell you this: you’re not going to learn anything reading the blogosphere — or at least you’re not going to learn very much.
Now I realize that’s a rather incongruous statement coming as it is from the keeper of a blog, but the simple reality is this: books are to the blogosphere as a five-course meal is to a can of Pringles. And while that’s not to say that some great harm will attend the occasional can of Pringles, even the most nutritionally ignorant must be aware of the deleterious consequences of eating too many fried, potato-chip-like things.
And so, as I exit the year that was 2004, I am happy to have consumed, along with a few dozen magazines and a few thousand Web pages, the following real-live, nothing but words, hardbound books — some of which, obviously merit further commentary. Roughly clustered by subject, they are: