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Monthly Archives: September 2012

A reason for Apple hatred.

I was thinking this morning about why people upgraded to iOS 6 for their phones and then responded with such gigantic fury over the uselessness of Apple’s Maps and the lack of anything really shocking in the update. Why so angry? It’s not as if Apple said “You can have this update and also we will kill your pet.” 

I think I figured out that the problem is Apple’s own slogans. When Apple releases anything, the slogans are along the lines of THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING. AGAIN. everything is the super-ultimate-top-of-the-heap thing, whether it’s iOS 6, or an iPhone 5, or what have you.

The problem is, this doesn’t allow any room for error, AND a bigger problem is that it allows no room for playing around. Everything has to appear as this superduper finished product that works amazingly without hitch. Every update has to have nearly science fictional features….or it’s all ruined ruined ruined.

I think this is one area where Google does better. Google’s attitude is generally “I dunno man, we’re kind of just fiddling about with some stuff.” Google Maps weren’t so great when they initially appeared on the scene…but they didn’t declare it to be the ultimate thing ever invented. Google’s attitude — from keeping everything in beta, to having features in a lab, etc — is always “we’re kind of just messing around with this thing. if it works, sweet! If not, sorry man, we’re still fiddling.” This attitude means that people might not USE a certainly google product, but they don’t necessarily come away in a gigantic ball of Hulk-sized fury.

That’s my theory. I don’t have any proposed solution — nor do I even know if anything is needed. I was just thinking about it.

(Weirdly, as I typed this, I began wondering if you could apply this to the undeserved hostility and snobbishness toward J.K. Rowling on the publication of her new book — the hostility and snobbishness having almost zilch to do with the goddamn book itself.) 

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Posted by on September 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Fifty Favorite Books

So over on his blog, Joe Hill posted his Fifty Favorite Books. Thank god it was fifty favorite, because I doubt I could manage a fifty  best list, in that I don’t ever feel I’ve got the education for something like that. Anyway his list was wonderful, and it also took over my head for a bit. Rather than getting any work done, I sat down with a notepad, staring at my bookshelves, and scribbled titles.

In Joe Hill’s list, he left out comics, reasoning that it’s for a different list. I have trouble sifting them out like that, so I’ve kept them in. I’ve also included non-fiction, biography, anthropology. Basically, any of the books that are my favorite, no matter what they are.

So. Alphabetized below for your pleasure, my Top Fifty.

  1. DICKENS – Peter Ackroyd
  2. THE HANDMAID’S TALE – Margaret Atwood
  3. THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG – Muriel Barbery
  4.  BRADBURY STORIES – Ray Bradbury
  5. ZEN IN THE ART OF WRITING – Ray Bradbury
  6. LIQUOR – Poppy Z Brite
  7. CHARLATAN – Pope Brock
  8. MAMA LOLA – Karen McCarthy Brown
  9. WAR FOR THE OAKS – Emma Bull
  10. DON QUIXOTE – Cervantes
  11. JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL – Susanna Clarke
  12. THE ESSENTIAL ELLISON – Harlan Ellison
  13. FRAUDS, MYTHS, AND MYSTERIES – Kenneth Feder
  14. THE KINDLY ONES – Neil Gaiman
  15. AMERICAN GODS – Neil Gaiman
  16. ANANSI BOYS (specifically, the audiobook) – Neil Gaiman
  17. THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA – Ernest Hemingway
  18. 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS – Joe Hill
  19. HEART-SHAPED BOX – Joe Hill
  20. THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME – Victor Hugo
  21. THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP – John Irving
  22. WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE – Shirley Jackson
  23. ON WRITING – Stephen King
  24. HEARTS IN ATLANTIS – Stephen King
  25. MISERY – Stephen King
  26. DUMA KEY – Stephen King
  27. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN – John Ajvide Lindqvist
  28. I AM LEGEND – Richard Matheson
  29. LIFE OF PI – Yann Martel
  30. THE ROAD – Cormac McCarthy
  31. CAGES – Dave McKean
  32. A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ – Walter M. Miller, Jr.
  33. ALAN MOORE: STORYTELLER – Gary Spencer Millidge
  34. THE THOUSAND AUTUMNS OF JACOB DE ZOET – David Mitchell
  35. BLACK SWAN GREEN – David Mitchell
  36. STARTING POINT: 1979 – 1996 – Hayao Miyazaki
  37. PROMETHEA – Alan Moore (a cheat. It’s 5 books. I can’t help it. There’s no picking.)
  38. WATCHMEN – Alan Moore
  39. COMPLETE WORKS – Edgar Allan Poe (Joe Hill cheated, list complete Shakespeare. I did Poe.)
  40. GOING POSTAL – Terry Pratchett
  41. NIGHT WATCH – Terry Pratchett
  42. MONSTROUS REGIMENT – Terry Pratchett
  43. FRANKENSTEIN – Mary Shelley
  44. DROOD – Dan Simmons
  45. MAUS – art spiegelman
  46. OF MICE AND MEN – John Steinbeck
  47. 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA – Jules Verne
  48. THE AUTHORITATIVE CALVIN & HOBBES – Bill Watterson
  49. COMPLETE BOOK OF TERROR – Leonard Wolf
  50. THE LAST DEFENDER OF CAMELOT – Roger Zelazny

 

So that’s my list. There are others who could be on it, probably. The problem with these lists is that they kind of mutate as the days and books go by, but I’m pretty happy with this. These are all the sort of books where I can not only read and re-read them time and again, I can open them and dip in and out when I choose. 

I so badly wanted to write a paragraph about each book explaining why I loved it and what it did for me (so many either shocked a powerful emotion out of me, or else left me going “I didn’t know you could DO THAT!” at the end, joyful about it the way a person mashing buttons can be joyful). I didn’t, though, because I’d still be writing paragraphs about all these books well into tomorrow. 

I also left out a few books that basically turned me into who I am, but which I’ve grown out of. The list is current for me-right-now, not me-up-ahead, or me-in-the-past. 

So. There’s mine. Where’s yours?

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2012 in Uncategorized