Thursday, September 13, 2012

Having trouble sleeping? Read a (real) book!

From the New York Times a few days ago. A research study published in the journal Applied Ergonomics found that two hours of exposure to a computer or tablet screen at night reduced melatonin levels by 22%. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates our internal clocks and plays a major role in our sleep cycles.

See the Times article here:

Of course reading about this might keep you awake--you are currently reading on one of those sleep-killing screens! And I wrote this on one. And the Times article was not printed in the paper version of the newspaper, only in the on-line version....

For more, see:

The bottom line? If you want to relax, read a real, printed on actual paper, book.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Junot Diaz--in the Times August 30th, in Durham September 20th

In case you missed it, the New York Times had a wonderful piece on Junot Diaz four days ago:

The article is all about his reading habits, which as you might imagine range all over the place, and all over the world.

Durham will be the center of Junot Diaz's world on Thursday, September 20th, when he reads from his new book, This is How You Lose Her, at Motorco Music Hall, 723 Rigsbee Avenue, starting at 7:30. Tickets are $5.00, available now at The Regulator, or at the door until we fill the place. The tickets may be used as a $5.00 credit for any Junot Diaz book, or as a store credit.

Don't pass up this opportunity to hear one of the best and most engaging writers of our time!

A few things from the Times article that especially caught my eye:

What’s the last truly great book you read?
Katherine Boo’s “Behind the Beautiful Forevers.” A book of extraordinary intelligence, humanity and (formalistic) cunning. Boo’s four years reporting on a single Mumbai slum, following a small group of garbage recyclers, have produced something beyond groundbreaking. She humanizes with all the force of literature the impossible lives of the people at bottom of our pharaonic global order, and details with a journalist’s unsparing exactitude the absolute suffering that undergirds India’s economic boom. The language is extraordinary, the portraits indelible, and then there are those lines at the end that just about freeze your heart: “The gates of the rich, occasionally rattled, remained unbreached. The politicians held forth on the middle class. The poor took down one another, and the world’s great, unequal cities soldiered on in relative peace.” 

What were your most cherished books as a child? Do you have a favorite character or hero from children’s literature?
I loved Encyclopedia Brown as a kid. Donald Sobol passed recently, and that really brought it all back to me, how important his books were to my little self. I didn’t learn to read until I was 7, so I missed out on the early stuff, jumped right to chapter books, right to Encyclopedia Brown. What I loved about Boy Detective Leroy Brown was that (1) he was unabashedly smart (smart was not cool when and where I grew up) and (2) his best friend was a girl, tough Sally Kimball, who was both Leroy’s bodyguard and his intellectual equal. Sobol did more to flip gender scripts in my head than almost anybody in my early years. 

Who are the best short story writers?
People who like to suffer or perhaps people tempted by perfectibility. For that is the short story’s great lure — that you can write a perfect one. With novels it’s quite the opposite — the lure of the novel is that you can never write a perfect one.

You can bring three books to a desert island. Which do you choose?
This is a question that always kills me. For a book lover this type of triage is never a record of what was brought along but a record of what was left behind. But if forced to choose by, say, a shipwreck or an evil Times editor...