Essay Books And Reading
When we are tired, it is a healthy recreation to indulge in light reading, as that makes our fatigue vanish, but we have to take care to cultivate the habit of reading books on history, literature, geography, science, philosophy, religion etc. The pleasure got from reading and enjoying such books will be more solid and instructive. Books ar
essay books and reading
Books are the most faithful of friends. Our friends may change, may quarrel or turn deceitful but not books. They always stand by you and are always patiently waiting to talk to us. They are never cross, peevish or unwilling to talk, as our friends in life sometimes are.
Phoebe Robinson is one-half of the awesome podcast 2 Dope Queens and a fierce voice for diversity in comedy. Her debut essay collection is about black hair, yes, but also about what it's like to be the one black friend in your group ("Hint," she writes, "it's annoying"), what it's like to be black in general ("very cool and awesome and also annoying") and, as she puts it, "all the stuff that makes some dude on the Internet call me a 'See You Next Tuesday.' " You should also check out her follow-up collection, Everything's Trash, But It's Okay.
Collecting her bestsellers Metropolitan Life and Social Studies, this indispensable volume of Fran Lebowitz's essays transports the reader to a place (New York City) and a time (late '70s-early '80s) with uncanny specificity. Lebowitz writes lean but compact prose as effortless as it is ruthless. You could bounce a quarter off every blistering sentence, every scalding take (her ferocious defense of smoking in restaurants, for example) and come away with your eyebrows happily singed. They call her the modern-day Dorothy Parker, but there's a generation of contemporary writers who'd kill to be called the heir apparent to Fran Lebowitz.
John Hodgman wrote his first few books in a voice one might call "Erudite, Condescending Polymath," but with 2011's That is All, he began to drop that pose and let notes of searching melancholy enter the mix. That process continued apace with this, his fourth book, a collection of essays built from his life as a writer, husband, father, friend, homeowner, full-time Yankee and part-time Mainer. He's as funny and charming as ever here, but he is also more worried, more doubtful, shuffling off the carapace of intellectual swagger to expose something more raw and relatable.
In all of his books, Bill Bryson skillfully and hilariously mixes exhaustive scholarship with personal, and often ruefully self-deprecating, anecdotes. Never more so, perhaps, than in A Walk In The Woods, about his many abortive attempts to hike the Appalachian Trail. Whether he's supplying the reader with useful information about the behavior and habitat of black bears, or describing in painful detail how woefully unprepared he found himself for the challenge before him, Bryson is an indispensable guide to both the eccentrics, and the ecology, of the AT.
Writer Jon Scieszka and illustrator Lane Smith's picture book riffs on classic kids' tales such as "Chicken Little" and "The Gingerbread Man" but outfits them with a knowing, smart-alecky, meta-fictional attitude. The narrator admonishes one character for trying to start her story on the inside cover of the book; other characters get flattened when the Table of Contents collapses on them. Lane Smith's gorgeously grotesque art lends the book a disquietingly surreal feeling while driving home the humor. There have been plenty of children's books that delight in fracturing classic fairy tales, but none of them is this gleefully, and thoroughly, weird.
Since the invention of the cuneiform system of writing in Mesopotamia around 3500 BCE and of hieroglyphics in Egypt around 3150 BCE, the serious reader of texts has enjoyed cultural acclamation. The clay tablets on which marks and signs were inscribed were regarded as precious and sometimes sacred artefacts. The ability to decipher and interpret the symbols and signs was seen as an extraordinary accomplishment. Egyptian hieroglyphics were thought to possess magical powers and, to this day, many readers regard books as a medium for gaining a spiritual experience. Since text possesses so much symbolic significance, how people read and what they read is widely perceived as an important feature of their identity. Reading has always been a marker of character, which is why people throughout history have invested considerable cultural and emotional resources in cultivating identities as lovers of books.
With the rise of digital technology, the performance of reading has altered. The contrast between a woman absorbed in reading a book in an 18th-century portrait and a teenager self-consciously gazing at her smartphone illustrates the different ways that individuals construct their identity through reading. Today, the sophisticated consumer of digital text competes for cultural affirmation with the reader of physical books, but which performance of reading ought to be valued most?
Using MRI scans, researchers have confirmed that reading involves a complex network of circuits and signals in the brain. As your reading ability matures, those networks also get stronger and more sophisticated.
Brain scans showed that throughout the reading period and for days afterward, brain connectivity increased, especially in the somatosensory cortex, the part of the brain that responds to physical sensations like movement and pain.
Researchers have found that students who read books regularly, beginning at a young age, gradually develop large vocabularies. And vocabulary size can influence many areas of your life, from scores on standardized tests to college admissions and job opportunities.
Reading fiction can allow you to temporarily escape your own world and become swept up in the imagined experiences of the characters. And nonfiction self-help books can teach you strategies that may help you manage symptoms.
As an intellectual object, a book is prototypically a composition of such great length that it takes a considerable investment of time to compose and still considered as an investment of time to read. In a restricted sense, a book is a self-sufficient section or part of a longer composition, a usage reflecting that, in antiquity, long works had to be written on several scrolls and each scroll had to be identified by the book it contained. Each part of Aristotle's Physics is called a book. In an unrestricted sense, a book is the compositional whole of which such sections, whether called books or chapters or parts, are parts.
The intellectual content in a physical book need not be a composition, nor even be called a book. Books can consist only of drawings, engravings or photographs, crossword puzzles or cut-out dolls. In a physical book, the pages can be left blank or can feature an abstract set of lines to support entries, such as in an account book, an appointment book, an autograph book, a notebook, a diary or a sketchbook. Some physical books are made with pages thick and sturdy enough to support other physical objects, like a scrapbook or photograph album. Books may be distributed in electronic form as ebooks and other formats.
Although in ordinary academic parlance a monograph is understood to be a specialist academic work, rather than a reference work on a scholarly subject, in library and information science monograph denotes more broadly any non-serial publication complete in one volume (book) or a finite number of volumes (even a novel like Proust's seven-volume In Search of Lost Time), in contrast to serial publications like a magazine, journal or newspaper. An avid reader or collector of books is a bibliophile or colloquially, "bookworm". A place where books are traded is a bookshop or bookstore. Books are also sold elsewhere and can be borrowed from libraries. Google has estimated that by 2010, approximately 130,000,000 titles had been published.
The custom of binding several wax tablets together (Roman pugillares) is a possible precursor of modern bound (codex) books. The etymology of the word codex (block of wood) also suggests that it may have developed from wooden wax tablets.
Scrolls can be made from papyrus, a thick paper-like material made by weaving the stems of the papyrus plant, then pounding the woven sheet with a hammer-like tool until it is flattened. Papyrus was used for writing in Ancient Egypt, perhaps as early as the First Dynasty, although the first evidence is from the account books of King Neferirkare Kakai of the Fifth Dynasty (about 2400 BC). Papyrus sheets were glued together to form a scroll. Tree bark such as lime and other materials were also used.
Isidore of Seville (died 636) explained the then-current relation between a codex, book, and scroll in his Etymologiae (VI.13): "A codex is composed of many books; a book is of one scroll. It is called codex by way of metaphor from the trunks (codex) of trees or vines, as if it were a wooden stock, because it contains in itself a multitude of books, as it were of branches". Modern usage differs.
A codex (in modern usage) is the first information repository that modern people would recognize as a "book": leaves of uniform size bound in some manner along one edge, and typically held between two covers made of some more robust material. The first written mention of the codex as a form of book is from Martial, in his Apophoreta CLXXXIV at the end of the first century, where he praises its compactness. However, the codex never gained much popularity in the pagan Hellenistic world, and only within the Christian community did it gain widespread use. This change happened gradually during the 3rd and 4th centuries, and the reasons for adopting the codex form of the book are several: the format is more economical, as both sides of the writing material can be used; and it is portable, searchable, and easy to conceal. A book is much easier to read, to find a page that you want, and to flip through. A scroll is more awkward to use. The Christian authors may also have wanted to distinguish their writings from the pagan and Judaic texts written on scrolls. In addition, some metal books were made, that required smaller pages of metal, instead of an impossibly long, unbending scroll of metal. A book can also be easily stored in more compact places, or side by side in a tight library or shelf space.