What I’m reading this week: “Lost in a good game,” by Pete Etchells 🕹💡📖 Is it worse for young people to experience killing and death IRL (in real life), or in a video game? This is not merely an academic question. Deranged individuals now regularly commit IRL mass shootings using IRL weapons of war to murder innocent people. Yet those weapons of war only exist because they are used every day for the IRL official killing and death of people in less fortunate countries around the world. Are video games to blame for real deaths? Or are video games merely another vivid example of art imitating life? This book takes the latter view, and begins by sharing how video games actually helped the author, a psychologist, cope with the death of a loved one. Video games do not cause violent deaths— they are works of art that provide a dearly needed respite from the harshest realities of a dangerous real world beyond our control, according to the author. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this interesting book to learn how this thesis plays out. 📚
Time flies, books endure. 📚💡Photo of Kepler’s Books as it appeared in 1968. Kepler’s has been a beloved local mainstay since 1955. Its historic roots took hold during the counterculture revolution of the 1950’s and 1960’s, when Roy Kepler founded the shop to encourage social activism and democratize reading. In its heyday, Kepler’s was a cultural epicenter with a loyal following among Beat intellectuals, pacifists, Stanford students and faculty, and book lovers of all stripes for its commitment to fostering the exchange of “serious books and ideas.” Among many notable visitors over the years, the Grateful Dead and folk singer Joan Baez often appeared at Kepler’s holding impromptu salons to discuss ideas, political action, and music.
What I’m reading this week: “What is not yours is not yours” 📚🗝😀 by Helen Oyeyemi. I’m loving this collection of dreamlike short stories that turns on the idea of keys as a metaphor for our hidden perceptions. A refreshing stream of clear, evocative, sparse yet mesmerizing prose that ebbs and flows into ever deeper locks of subconscious meaning and insight as each story unfolds. The tales are interlocking, but in a wholly unexpected way, which adds to its brilliance. Not for the overly literal, despite its declarative style. A breakthrough, transcendent voice. Can’t wait to read more.
What I’m reading this week: “Baracoon: the story of the last black cargo” by Zora Neale Hurston
The story of Oluale Kossola, survivor of the last known slave ship to cross the Atlantic, told in his own words. In 1927, famed anthropologist and writer Zora Neale Hurston spent three months with the then-eighty-six-year-old Lewis to preserve his story.
Kossola vividly describes being captured by a rival village in Africa as a young man, sold into slavery and shipped to America. He tells of his years in cruel bondage followed by chimeric emancipation after the civil war, and of being marooned for life in an inhospitable new world with no means to ever return to his home in Africa.
Hurston took great pains to preserve Kossola’s singular linguistic and storytelling style, which she rightly viewed as essential to the authentic voice of his experience. She allows Kossula to bring his stories to life in his own words, and deftly weaves together the historical details with spellbinding mastery. An uniquely poignant and irreplaceable landmark of American history and culture.