The rule I like is ‘one hundred pages minus your age.’ Say you’re 30 years old—if a book hasn’t captivated you by page 70, stop reading it. So as you age, you have less time to endure crap.
This post comes perilously close to one of those insufferable LinkedIn “if you’re not reading Marcus Aurelius from a beat-up paperback, are you really reading?” humblebrags, but I liked this rule in particular. The older I get, the more likely I am to DNF if a book isn’t holding me.
STATELY, PLUMP BUCK MULLIGAN CAME FROM THE STAIRHEAD, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned:
We’re in the process of streamlining all our stuff for moving to Italy. We’ve gone trough our clothes, DVDs, books and games. The things we’re not taking to Rome are going to our mothers’ houses. The things that don’t go to our mothers’ houses are going to charity shops.
Before we start taking the books down to Oxfam, we figured it might be best to offer them around to our friends first.
First batch of books! If you want anything here, drop me a mail. Otherwise, it’s off to the charity shop or bookcrossing.
Neuromancer – William Gibson
Hearbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – Dave Eggers
Blockbuster – Tom Shone
Captain Scott – Ranulph Fiennes
Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction – Sue Tonsend
A-Z of Living Together – Jeff Green
Romanitas – Sophia McDougall
The Little Friend – Donna Tartt
Crusader Gold – David Gibbins (second-worst book I’ve ever read)
Seven Ancient Wonders – Matthew Reilly (worst book I’ve ever read – fascinatingly, perversely bad)
Tales of a Punk Rock Nothing – Himelstein
The Love of a Good Woman – Alice Munro
Mortal Engines – Philip Reeve
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World – Haruki Murakami
The Fuck Up – Arthur Nersesian
How to Make Love Like a Porn Star – Jenna Jameson
High Concept: Don Simpson and the Hollywood Culture of Excess – Charles Fleming
Megatokyo vol 1. – Fred Gallagher
The Man Who Ate Everything – Jeffrey Steingarten
How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
the Bagthorpe Triangle – Helen Cresswell
Monster Island – David Wellington
Freakonomics – Stephen D. Levitt
Newfoundland – Rebecca Ray
The Alphabet of Manliness – Maddox
Is It Just Me or Is Everything Shit? – Steve Lowe
Howling at the Moon – Walter Vetnikoff
The Pope’s Children – David McWilliams
Notes on a Scandal – Zoe Heller
The World According to Mimi Smartipants
Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman – Phyllis Chesler
Short Hands, Long Pockets – Eddie Hobbs
City Chic: An Urban Girl’s Guide to Livin’ Large on Less – Nina Willdorf
I’m still waiting for Irish Broadband to contact me about an installation date, so I’ve had four days away from a computer. And so much has happened.
[Apple to use Intel Microprocessors beginning in 2006](http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2005/jun/06intel.html)
This had been rumoured for a couple of weeks now (and a couple of years before then), but still… wow. John Gruber suggests that [Apple may not transition to x86 chips](http://daringfireball.net/2005/06/see_you_intel). But then again, he also [discounted the possibility of Apple releasing the iPod Shuffle](http://daringfireball.net/2004/12/flash_gordon) and last week attempted to [debunk the rumours of Apple switching to Intel](http://daringfireball.net/2005/05/intelmania). But this is so completely *huge* that it’s easy to understand why he was a litle skeptical. Apple say they’re looking at completing the transition to the Intel chips by the end of 2007.
[Nintendo Revolutionâ€™s classic Nintendo games will be free](http://www.joystiq.com/entry/1234000843045537/)
Nintendo, who have been keeping quiet in this round of “Our console will have hi-def” “Ours will massage your feet while you play!” have dropped a bombshell in the form of massive amount of backward-compatibility for free! They will be releasing almost every game they published for their previous consoles as a free download, available from the launch of their new console, the Revolution. This includes things like *Ocarina of Time*, *GoldenEye*, *Perfect Dark*, *Zelda II* and one of my favourite games, *Uniracers* (*Unirally* over here). Miyamoto (the creator of Mario and Zelda) has said that he’s tired of sprawling epic games and is appealing to developers to create something unique and fun (but not neccessarily *huge* or *big-budget*) for the Revolution. I guess this is Nintendo paying attention.
**Update**: [Full list of games available for download](http://www.cubed3.com/viewnews.php?storyid=3958)
My copy of [Difficult Questions about Videogames](http://www.publicbeta.org/dqav/) was waiting for me when I arrived in work today. This should give me plenty to chew through for the next couple of days, at least until [GTA:SA](http://www.rockstargames.com/sanandreas/) and [God of War](http://us.playstation.com/Content/OGS/SCUS-97399/Site/main.asp) arrive and start soaking up all my free time.
**Update**: A few pages in, and I’m convinced of something that I’d always suspected – [Kieron Gillen](http://www.kierongillen.com/) needs to find himself an editor.
I’m almost finished moving to my new apartment. It’s not quite time to crack open a beer and relax, but almost. In the meantime, I’ve taken my pastimes out of their temporary hiatus and once again started playing games (the beautiful, memorable [Cruise for a Corpse](http://www.the-underdogs.org/game.php?id=252) via the wonders of [Dosbox](http://dosbox.sourceforge.net/)) and reading (Steven Johnson’s [Everything Bad is Good for You](http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0713998024/qid=1117535500/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl/202-3786381-6615801)). Although I’ll probably end up writing something about Cruise for a Corpse later, I’ve got a couple of things I’d like to say about Everything Bad is Good for You.
The last book I read before the move was Kevin Lynch’s [Image of the City](http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0262620014/ref=pd_sxp_f/102-4206398-0567330?v=glance&s=books), a book about the theory of town planning. Most of that book is spent teaching us new ways to look at cities and helping us develop a new vocabulary for describing cities and town planning – most memorably, it introduces the idea of a city’s [imageability](http://interconnected.org/home/2003/12/19/in_the_image_of_the_city). Dan Hill took this concept and applied it to videogames in his amazing essay [Los Angeles: Grand Theft Reality](http://www.cityofsound.com/blog/2004/12/los_angeles_gra.html) – I would encourage everyone to read this, regardless of whether or not you are interested in videogames.
Stephen Johnson does something similar in Everything Bad is Good for You (EBIGFY). Like Lynch, Johnson also tries to teach us to look at videogames in a new way and give us the vocabulary to describe video game concepts. Johnson accurately and eloquently sums up the positive aspects of videogames beyond the oft-repeated “improves hand/eye co-ordination” nonsense, such as teaching us the art of making sense of chaos in order to achieve a game’s objectives (he calls this practice “telescoping”). He also describes, on a physiological level, why we enjoy playing games in spite of the fact that they tend to frustrate us for 90% of the time.
Although his section on videogames is barely 35 pages long, it provides a more succinct and lucid essay about the merits of video games than I’ve yet seen from actual [videogame](http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1841151203/202-3786381-6615801) [commentators](http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0349107238/qid=1117540158/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_2_1/202-3786381-6615801).