Books, Buddhism

Carpe Liber

Currently reading: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.

Hello everyone,

I apologize for the lack of updates. Lately I have been preoccupied with my coursework. I am currently studying Library & Information Science. My head has been in my textbook and online readings for my courses. So far, the challenge for me has not been with the coursework. I have been submitting my assignments on time, and getting full credit for my work. I need to improve on balancing work and leisure.

I love to read books. You can usually find me with a book everytime you see me, either in my hand or in my messenger bag. I never leave home without a good read by my person. My leisure reading has taken a dip for obvious reasons. I am not saying this is a horrible thing. This is also not a complaint; this is an acknowledgement of a change. I need to learn how to manage my time better because I noticed that I have been devoting all of my time to required and optional readings for my courses. I also need to learn to have fun as well to ensure that I do not burn myself out.

I need to remember to breathe and to enjoy what life has to offer. Sometimes I tunnel vision on my work at the expense of ensuring my brain gets rest. Rest is important for retention and avoiding getting stressed out when challenges present themselves. Going forward, I am going to return to my breathing, return to myself, and remember that there are more things to life than work. I am going to start by picking up where I left off in Jurassic Park…


Bookworms, Unite!

The postliterate society is a term in fiction dating back as early as the 60’s. It means a society where technology advances while reading is either extinct or has reached the point where it is not a common activity. Examples of the postliterate society in fiction include works like Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and Ilium by Dan Simmons. While bookstores still exist in parts of New York, sometimes I fear my community is moving in the direction of postliteracy. The surprise I experience when I am seen reading and the closure of our only bookstore serve to me as red flags that we are not heading in a positive direction.

I am almost always seen with a book in my hand. I like a good read during my commute to work and sometimes during my breaks. The reactions I experience when caught reading always boil down to one feeling: surprise. One day, I was reading a novel while eating breakfast at my local bagel spot Bagels On Bartow. A lady sitting next to me saw me immersed in my book and wanted to take a picture of me to post on her Facebook page. She explained she wanted to share the great news that people are still reading books. A part of me felt flattered, while the rest of me felt a sense of sadness that reading is viewed as a rarity.

My favorite reaction was from an elderly gentleman who saw me reading while walking (don’t try this at home, kids). The man pointed at my book and exclaimed, “A book! That’s a real book!” Completely blindsided, I was only able to produce a nervous laugh. These reactions bothered me because I know I am not alone. I know people who read, but my community doesn’t seem to have a lot of readers. If they did, it should not come as a shock that I am reading a book.

The recent closure of our local Barnes & Noble does not help my pessimism about the state of reading in my community. Barnes & Noble in the Bay Plaza Mall was the only bookstore of the Bronx. It served as a great hangout spot for readers who wanted to buy books, graphic novels, manga, etc. The problem with the bookstore boiled down to prices. People were not buying books frequently with the existence of Amazon, which offers books at more discounted prices. This probably played a role in why the store closed and was replaced by Saks OFF 5th. Apparently people can afford expensive purses but not a book.

The only silver lining is The Lit Bar, a wine bar and bookstore project by Noelle Santos, which promises to bring a bookstore back to the Bronx. The project was successfully crowdfunded. The only question now is when The Lit Bar will come to the Bronx. I am brimming with anticipation for the day this spot opens in the Bronx.

I am comforted by the fact that I know I am not alone. I am surrounded by awesome people who are woke as fuck and well-read. Bookworms need to unite and show that we are not a dying breed. The Lit Bar was successfully crowdfunded, demonstrating that the Bronx has folks who love to read. We are few, but we are not extinct. We are the last bastion against our community’s descent into post-literacy.