My fellow white people, let’s perform a thought experiment, shall we?
Imagine: A video is released of an unarmed white man taken into custody for a non-violent crime who is lying on the ground, subdued by a black police officer who is placing his knee into the white man’s neck.
We hear the subdued, unarmed white man on the ground struggling for breath, begging through strained breath the black officer for minutes to take the pressure off before falling unconscious.
The white man loses his life; the black police officer only loses his job.
Would you not rage? Would you not stand in righteous defiance of a system that clearly failed to bring justice for someone who died in the custody of those who are supposed to protect us? Would you not cry out, make your voice heard, and exercise your right to assemble?
Of course you would; but that isn’t what happened.
George Floyd was an unarmed black man; Derek Chauvin was a white police officer. This was only the latest example of a problem inherent in our society that we are all too aware of; but while many white voices joined in solidarity to call for justice, many of us did not. Continue reading “My Fellow White People”→
Collecting vinyl has become synonymous with the hipster identity in recent years, often conjuring the image of snotty, upturned noses talking about how “it sounds better on vinyl.” I’m not here to debate the sound quality of hi-fi versus lo-fi, or digital versus analog. Instead, I want to dive into my personal journey toward collecting vinyl and what I find to be the most interesting aspects of the hobby.
Seeing as it has been over two years since I began The Past Due Review, I thought it would be interesting to reflect on some of the unforeseen consequences of running a book blog. I realize that I have expanded my content to include movie reviews and Music Monday posts, but this site began with the wish to share what I have been reading and my thoughts on those stories. Though some of these revelations probably seem rather mundane or obvious to others, I was taken by surprise in both positive and negative ways. Let’s start with the bad; it can only get better from there, right? Continue reading “On the Subject of the Unforeseen Consequences of Book Blogging”→
Disclaimer: I have not been contacted or paid to write this editorial about The Folio Society. I am endorsing this company through my own volition and belief in the high quality of its products.
Those of you who have been following my blog for some time will have noticed a trend of lovely books popping up every now and then, all of which were made by a company called The Folio Society. I love paperbacks as much as the next reader, but sometimes there are editions created not only to celebrate the work of art that is the story; these copies seek to elevate the book into a work of art itself through the craftsmanship and design put into them. The Folio Society creates just such books, but what is The Folio Society, and why do I feel so passionate about what it is they do?
It has been my observation that people fall into two camps when it comes to reading with music: those who do and those who don’t. I admit that I fall into the former group, and I thought it might be an interesting subject to cover. The reasons for not listening to music while reading seem pretty obvious; distraction that leads to lessened comprehension and attention to what is happening in the story is most likely the biggest drawback, but what about the positive experience of listening to music for those who choose to do so?
There are those who believe that a book should be read once and then passed on to its next reader; I am not one of them. Granted, many of the books I read end up becoming favorites of mine (19 of the books reviewed on my blog have been re-reads), but most end up being sold to a used bookstore (see On the Subject of Giving, Keeping, Selling, and Buying Books). I understand why people believe that once a book is read, all of its secrets and beneficial qualities have been leeched out through the act and that it has nothing left to give; I don’t agree with it, but I understand. So, I thought it would be interesting to discuss the reasons for re-reading a book.
One of my favorite aspects of being a reader is finding a book that I feel needs to be shared; whether with someone specific or just in general, giving the gift of a story is one of the best gestures that someone can extend. That being said, the question of how to bestow said book upon another person can have different answers. Some people give books as gifts, lend them to friends, decide to keep them on their shelves, or sell them to bookstores. I thought it would be an interesting exercise to look into how I approach these actions and some of the reasoning behind it.
Those of you who have been reading my blog for some time have probably noticed a pattern of Discworld novels popping up every few reviews, and there is a reason for this. Terry Pratchett has become one of my favorite authors even though I hadn’t even heard of him until four years ago. Perhaps this puts my minimal knowledge of the greater realm of fantasy novels in perspective, but for the others who are ignorant of his existence, Terry Pratchett wrote the Discworld series which totals 41 books and takes place on the Discworld. Though I didn’t realize (or realise) the magic of his prose until relatively recently, his work has come to influence me heavily and I felt compelled to write a piece about how his impact.
I want to take a moment to interrupt the usual flow and pattern of my blogs and raise awareness of an issue that is relevant to everyone reading this. We all take the open and fair Internet for granted, but the time to defend this service is now at hand. Our freedom as Internet users is at risk because of the agenda of the new FCC Chairman who wants to put more power and money in the hands of big cable companies at the expense of consumers.
Right now, new FCC Chairman and former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai has a plan to destroy net neutrality and give big cable companies immense control over what we see and do online. If they get their way, the FCC will give companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T control over what we can see and do on the Internet, with the power to slow down or block websites and charge apps and sites extra fees to reach their audiences.
If we lose net neutrality, we could soon face an Internet where some of your favorite websites are forced into a slow lane online, while deep-pocketed companies who can afford expensive new “prioritization” fees have special fast lane access to Internet users – tilting the playing field in their favor.
The Battle for the Net campaign will provide tools to make it easy for your friends, family, and followers to take action. From the SOPA blackout to the Internet Slowdown, we’ve shown time and time again that we can stop censorship and corruption when the Internet comes together. Now, we have to do it again.
Internet services have basically become a public utility in the 21st century and big cable companies should not be allowed to skew the quality their services in favor of sites that can afford to pay them more. I will stand up on July 12th; I hope you will too.
We will return to the regularly scheduled blogs next Wednesday with a review of one of my favorite books: Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witchby Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Thank you for indulging this digression; I wouldn’t have posted this if it weren’t something I care about and feel must be shared.