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Unknown Friends 
What I'm reading...
Greetings. I thought I’d try something different. Although having meandered around the usual format recently I’m wondering if different is quickly becoming usual.
The photo above shows a bunch of books I have found, bought or was gifted and that are yet to be opened. So no, I’m not currently reading them. They are just some of the physical books in my ‘to read’ pile. There are more.
Reading 12 books a year appears to be the average, with the total books in a lifetime at 735 for females and 684 for males. I have some work to do. I’ve only logged 200-ish books on my neglected Goodreads account, and I keep forgetting to mark books read. If you see me logging and reviewing all of the Mr Men series it’s because I’m playing catch up. I’d hate to die and not top at least 700 books. My lad is already approaching 400 read books and he’s only 13. His record is nine 300 page Alex Rider type novels in a week. Maybe because we only have gaming at weekends.
“Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.” ~ Fernando Pessoa
If, according to Stephen King, “Books are a uniquely portable magic” ebook readers must be an unfathomable concentration of that power.
I have almost 900 unread titles on my Kindle. I fear it is a mountain I shall never climb. To be honest there are some epic titles stored in that list. But I’d be happy enough to get to basecamp.
It’s not one of the ‘epic titles’ but I’m dipping into 100 things we’ve lost to the internet.
It’s a little obvious and superficial to those aware of both sides of the screen. But it makes for light reading before bed.
Pamela Paul is a prolific author though so I might check out her other work. One of her quotes seems apt right now.
“This is every reader's catch-22: the more you read, the more you realize you haven't read; the more you yearn to read more, the more you understand that you have, in fact, read nothing. There is no way to finish, and perhaps that shouldn't be the goal.”
Instead of fantasising about an extended hospital stay, prison sentence, or offline holiday, I really should ditch a hobby or two and focus a little more on finding some quiet time to open these books.
It’s not that I can’t find the time to read. I read for hours each day. It’s just that my phone and laptop bully me more than my silent library of unknown friends.
Here are some of the things I’ve recently found in the feeds.
How romantic walks with girlfriends inspired Nineteen Eighty-Four.
The Google engineer who thinks the company’s A.I. has come to life.
Does Britain exist?
Forty Two. A short story by Lisa Taddeo.
For 40 Years, this russian family was cut off from all human contact.
Here are the two papery objects I’m currently hanging out with.
On my list of 50 things to do this year was to buy and read a magazine I’ve never read or would not normally read. I picked this up at random without knowing what was in it and struck gold.
You might be familiar with Smith Journal but i’d not seen it before. In fact I might never see it again as it began publication in 2011 and finished in 2019.
Cool stuff, weird stuff, art, travel, radio and stories. I love it. I might try to pick up some back issues.
This book jumped the queue as it was gifted to me while in Austin last week.
I knew nothing about gene-culture coevolution before I opened this book.
Kate who attended my workshops handed it to me on the last day and apologised for the coffee stains. I love loved books.
I also love how we can still share books and not get arrested. Let me know if you would like to ‘borrow’ some of my ebooks. I’ll just run them through the DRM stripper and send them over. Just email them back when you have finished. ;-)
Oh, and if you like them, buy copies for friends and then dip into the authors other writings. The smart authors sell you their work direct. Or perhaps they have some kind of subscription based weekly email like this. After all. They have also gotta eat, and it’s never been easier to support the writers and content creators you enjoy.
Speaking of which. Here are some email newsletters I enjoy...
He’s currently on a break but check out Stephan Caspar’s The Spaces In Between
You should know the following master storyteller…
One of the dispatch titles I’ve had on standby for a long while was ‘Apophenia’. I really wanted to use it as the domain name for my Substack but am now glad I didn’t. Gia uses it so much better than I ever could. People like you should also read Gia’s ‘My Apophenic Haze’.
David is someone else who teaches me stuff. At the same time as entertaining me with his fomo inducing adventures.
Another author I enjoy is George Orwell. Every year on his birthday (June 25th) I hold a small symposium (picnic) beside his final resting place. This year will be the 16th consecutive year.
Over time the conversation has ebbed and flowed with no real agenda. Sometimes we've just chatted tech/literature and Orwellian things while enjoying food and drink with friends. It’s 11am behind the Church of All Saints in Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire (OX14 4AE). All are welcome. Bring food, drink, thoughts and something to sit on. The grid reference is 51.643973,-1.270901 and the What Three Words address is ///behind.plants.couches
What are you currently reading?
Apart from the books I’ve mentioned above, what else should I be reading? Or perhaps there are some books in the pile you think should jump the queue.
Comments below are open to all. Feel free to share your thoughts.
Thanks for reading.