7 books to help resync your watches
So he with difficulty and labour hard
Mov’d on, with difficulty and labour hee;
the perks of being a wallflower \ stephen chbosky
January 11th, 2021
I am writing to you because they said you listen and understand and didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have. Please don’t try to figure out who they are because then you might figure out who I am, and I really don’t want you to do that. I think you of all people would understand that because I think you of all people are alive and appreciate what that means. At least I hope you do because other people look to you for strength and friendship and it’s that simple. At least that’s what I have heard. I am writing to you because I think you will enjoy the book the perks of being a wallflower. I am not sure if enjoy is the right word or the best word to describe what I think you will feel after you read it. The story can be sad at times but I don’t think it’s a sad story. I’m not asking you to read it because I think it will make you sad. You might cry. I cried. But before and after the crying I felt really good about the book and continue to think for myself it’s astounding. I think you of all people will understand the story because I think you of all people are alive and appreciate what that means. At least that’s what I think the story is about. I should probably tell you a little bit about the book now. The book begins with Charlie writing to you about what he went through before high school and who he meets and how he learns more about what it’s like to think with other people. A lot of the book is about Charlie’s new friends Sam and Patrick and what they all do together. Some of it happens at school where Charlie has a teacher who lends him extra books to read beyond what’s normally assigned for his classes. Charlie’s Teacher says, “People accept the love they think they deserve.” It made me sad when I first read that, now reading doesn’t make me as sad.
At one point in the book Sam and Patrick take Charlie to a party and Charlie eats a pot brownie thinking it’s a regular brownie. He got really high and started saying things to people that mostly made them laugh but Charlie could still tell they were a little bit annoyed too. The book isn’t about drugs, I just wanted you to know that that happened in the book, because something similar happened to me before and sometimes I don’t want to read about that. At least not unless I need a good cry. After some sad things happened to Charlie’s before high school, Sam and Patrick are Charlie’s first new friends. They introduce him to a whole new world of what it means to be a person in a community. Punk rock zines, Rocky Horror, David Bowie; experiences Charlie could never have even fathomed without the friends in his life. It’s a really sweet story. Charlie talks about music a lot in his letters. He really likes the song ‘Asleep’ by The Smiths, I tried listening to it after reading the book and I didn’t see what was so special about it. I think The Smiths are okay, but I prefer the song ‘I know very well how I got my name’ and I think everyone can choose their own favorite The Smiths song, even if they aren’t your favorite band. At least that’s what I think about books and the chapters in a book are a lot like songs on an album. I don’t think the perks of being a wallflower will immediately be your favorite book ever but it’s a worthy deposit on the soul. At least that’s what I think of the book and that’s what I think you might think of the book too. Really, I just need to know that someone out there listens and understands that sad stories that make you cry aren’t really that sad when you get to share these stories with friends. I need to know that these people exist.
I should probably go to sleep now. It’s very late. I don’t know why I wrote a lot of this down for you to read. The reason I wrote you this letter is that I trust you and respect you all a lot and look up to you, even though you don’t know me. And I thought it would be okay to write you a letter like Charlie did in the book. And the world is scary right now but it’s less scary with friends. I hope you don’t mind. Is it too late to tell you that?
Our Man in Charleston \ Christopher Dickey
Christopher Dickey contextualizes the work of American born British Counsel Robert Bunch, an overt agent of the crown. A far cry from Robert Mitchum’s Jason Bourne novels, Dickey frames the history of war as a history of delusions. Once thought to be a reiterate, if not curious, footnote in civil war history; this closer examination of Bunch’s world unveils an unraveling of insurrectionists’ plans for foreign support. Striking directly at the truth of matters, Bunch’s correspondence fact-checking and countering of false realities presented by public officials and political leaders had the effect of outclerking the confederacy. Seeming to collaborate across time and space, Bunch and Dickey’s analysis also measures a madness overcoming antebellum communities; the validation of fear. They describe environments where debate and dissension are discouraged, costs are not calculated, and benefits are fabricated. This book is a timeless example of how the rhetoric of glory disguises the grotesque realities of combat and how promptly we forget the most obvious lessons of history.
Poor Richard’s Almanack \ Ben Franklin et al.
Thou hast better each salt with the philosophers of Greece, than sugar with the courtiers of Italy.
Alan Turing: The Enigma \ Andrew Hodges
Alan Turing had problems. While Andrew Hodges's perspective of events may certainly be read delicious — Turing’s true mind is still a difficult read by both contemporaries and progeny. Where others sometimes miscategorize Turing’s actions as plays by intuition, Hodges takes great stride to layout the professor’s methodical responses to difficult problems. In the book, Turing stands like a statue against the romantic backdrop of a great game. Not always an intentionally difficult person, Turing is presented as a man of fine moral character, known for always playing clean. One example of Alan’s brilliance is the systematic wrinkling of his colleagues’ perspectives during the building of their mythical Bombe; an attempt to catalyze their teamwork. Through Hodges's perspective, the team notes that after overcoming Alan’s perennial social difficulties on the project; their machine is turned on, the digit counters fall, and Turing engenders the first information age. In processing the professor’s full humanity, Hodges exposes even the most intimate details of Alan’s correspondence, including their enrollment in an experimental program that caused the formation of breast tissue. This sometimes painfully honest portrait of human enlightenment glimpses a newer truth of our age: Oppenheimer destroyed an atom, Turing sprouted a universe.
rHEtOric aS a poSt-huMAN (*) \ Casey Boyle
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? How do you get to Carnegie Hall? How do you get to Carnegie Hall? “*,” Massumi writes, “becomes perception.” To speak (#quack) in a technological register, humanism might be best considered as a glItch (A spike) in electrical voltage that produces extreme effects of amplifying certain attributes of a system while attenuating others. Burrowing from Voltaire’s criticisms of religion, Casey Boyle and others thoughtfully deconstruct what it means to be part of a collective species and attempt to contextualize the question, “Wha* happen?”
The Future is History \ Masha Gesen
Picasso had a saying.
Leaves of Grass \ Walt Whitman
WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
Stardust: The David Bowie Story \ Henry Edwards and Tony Zanetta