Thursday News: Meaningful reading, Netflix v. HBO, #MuslimShelfSpace, and letting go of books
President Obama has it right. Here are all the ways reading books can transform your life. – Despite the clickbait title of this article, it’s actually a pretty good interview with former publishing CEO Will Schwalbe, who has written his own book – Books for Living – that focuses on 26 titles and what they taught him about reading and life. We may not all agree on the titles he chose, or even his “lessons,” but he has some interesting insights, like this reflection on reading and community:
Q: Your book isn’t only a love letter to books, it’s also about the power of reading. What does reading mean to you?
WS: Reading means many things, depending on the book. The chapter where I write specifically about reading, for example, is about the book called “Zen in the Art of Archery” by the German writer Eugen Herrigel. This book showed me that reading is a form of meditation.
Reading is also one of the few things you can do by yourself that makes you feel less alone. You feel more connected to others.
Reading also imbues you with a sense of responsibility: When we read, we figure out what we want to do in the world. It is also an act of long-form listening and can be an act of resistance. It is really the most remarkable thing. – Washington Post
Netflix calls out HBO for not letting subscribers binge on new shows – Reed Hastings suggested that HBO should follow Netflix’s example in going “binge-first” and end their tradition of stinginess when it comes to releasing episodes one at a time. HBO continues to follow its own strategy, however, including its collaboration with Amazon (an interesting twist on the a la carte subscription channel model) and a deal with Sky, giving the European company first-run rights for shows like “Game of Thrones” and “Westworld.” More critical, though, is that Netflix has joined the chorus of voices warning about the impact of the new U.S. administration on net neutrality rules (read: it’s likely going to be a clusterf**k):
Hastings also warned that if incoming president Donald Trump and his new government weakened US net neutrality laws, it could be bad news for new and smaller players in the streaming market.
“No one wants ISPs to decide what new and potentially disruptive services can operate over their networks, or to favour one service over another,” he said. “We hope the new US administration and Congress will recognise that keeping the network neutral drives job growth and innovation,” adding that Netflix wouldn’t be heavily affected by any such change in policy. – Ars Technica
With #MuslimShelfSpace, Muslim Authors Get the Spotlight – Wanting to raise the profile of Muslim authors, Sajidah Ali kicked off the program, #MuslimShelfSpace, at the beginning of 2017 to promote more expansive and diverse reading in the new year. Readers are encouraged to share pictures on social media of books written by Muslim authors, whether they be physical books on a shelf or digital cover images from a smartphone, tablet, or dedicated ereader. Ali also reflected on the way the program has also encourage conversation among readers about where the gaps are in their reading habits:
One of the most interesting results of the campaign so far was hearing from readers who realized that they didn’t own many books by Muslim authors and having conversations about how to change that.
“It was nice to see shelves that had lots of books but I really did like seeing the empty spaces as well,” Ali said. “I think it got readers to think about how to go out of your sphere and reach for a book you might not have reached for so easily before. Anything that gets people to think about their choices is great.” – NBC News
How to let go of books with less tears – Okay, first of all, shouldn’t that be “fewer tears”? Anyway, for those of you who might be moving or who just want to downsize your book collection, this is a pretty good list of questions to ask yourself. For example, if the book is available online or from the library, you can afford to let it go. Unless, of course, it is a collectible edition. There are suggestions for donation and gifting, too, as well as some potentially useful links (although be aware that the blogger also has a personal organization business).
Letting go of meaningful possessions is difficult, especially when combined with the stress of having to move or downsize. Doing good for someone else is one antidote for the loss of control many, especially seniors feel, when moving. Knowing that something in your home now has a new home, can help ease the pain of downsizing. – Lets Make Room, via The Mercury News