Archive for The Writer’s Notebook

Sorrows of the Digital World: The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High Tech World by Adam Gazzaley and Larry D. Rosen

The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a Technological World by Adam Gazzaley and Larry D. Rosen, MIT Press, Cambridge/London, 2016. “And the faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character and will. No one…

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Sorrows of the Digital World and “The Attention Merchants” by Tim Wu (or, The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads!)

The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads by Tim Wu (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2016. $28.95 At a recent small college basketball game I was in the stands with perhaps twenty or thirty other fans, most, unlike me, parents of…

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The Sorrows of the Digital World: An Expanding Bibliography for a Brave New World

  Yes, the sorrows of the digital world indeed. Mommy on the cell phone while walking with her baby daughter in the park on a beautiful morning, the guy driving seventy-five texting and staring at his lap.  Generals and Billionaires running the show on Twitter….

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Perspectives: Reality Hunger by David Shields

  Perspectives: Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, by David Shields, Alfred A. Knopf, New York (2010)   We must accept the premise, so important to David Shields, that our society and culture now is “unbearably manufactured”, riddled with spectacle, innuendo, falsehood, celebrity, misinformation and data smog….

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Second Look Books: The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy by Christopher Lasch

American Demagogue: The Why and How of Donald J. Trump Books discussed in this essay: The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy by Christopher Lasch, (W.W. Norton and Company, New York) (1995) Listen, Liberal or Whatever Happened to the Party of the…

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Second Look Books: A Hole in the Sky by William Kittredge

 Second Look Books: Hole in the Sky by William Kittrege (Alfred A. Knopf, $20) Review first published Sunday, August 30, 1992.   It seems impossible, but there is a place in America that is so empty, so terrifyingly beautiful, that one, on seeing it for the…

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Ray Bradbury–Imitation is the First Step

For ten years I wrote at least one short story a week, somehow guessing that a day would finally come when I got out of the way and let it happen…Ten years of doing everything wrong suddenly became the right idea… I hasten to add…

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Ray Bradbury–The Unconscious as Playroom

Back some thirty years ago I sat down to my typewriter one day and wrote these words: “The Playroom.” Playroom where? The Past? No. The Present? Hardly. The Future? Yes! Well, then, what would a Playroom in some future year be like? I began typing,…

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Ray Bradbury–Tenacity and the Muse

The Muse must have a shape. You will write a thousand words a day for ten or twenty years in order to try to give it shape, to learn enough about grammar and story construction so that these become part of the Subconscious, without restraining…

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Annie Dillard–Reading and the Spiritual Life

Why are we reading, if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened and is deepest mystery probed? Can the writer isolate and vivify all in experience that most deeply engages our intellects and our hearts? Can the writer renew our hope for literary…

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