Bitter Is the New Black, a memoir by Jen Lancaster. Jen and her boyfriend had high paying jobs and lived the kind of life that I can only imagine. I, for example, have one pair of shoes, one pair of sneakers and one pair of sandals. Jen on the other hand had a closet full and I'm not talking Payless. They had a gorgeous apartment, cool cars, hung out in the hottest bars; they were everything I live to hate. But then Jen loses her job and can not find another. The top jobs, the ones she feels that she deserves, are swamped with applications from other unemployed, deserving people and the jobs she feels are below her don't want her either. Her unemployment runs out and then her boyfriend, by now her husband, is laid off. Then she becomes a real person.
I couldn't help but think of Steve while reading this, especially during the chapter on video games. I think that we'll all agree that Steve doesn't understand the complexities in video games because he doesn't play them. I, however, am addicted to Sims and do think that it does indeed teach something about life to kids (I, for example, have learned that raising twins is NOT fun.) Johnson discusses how the average video game takes 40 hours to complete and that a lot of logic is involved in solving the maze like sequences. There is a continual repetition of searching for and trying various alternatives that takes patience and hones thinking skills. Read this part of the book again, Steve, because it makes sense. Better yet, play a video game start to finish.
Johnson's take on television & movies is that plots are becoming more complex, more self-referential and the storytelling less temporally linear thereby making us think while watching. He cites "Momento" and "The Usual Suspects" as examples of movies that give our brains a work out; at the end of the movie, we often want to see it again immediately just to fill in things we missed. True enough. When I watched these two movies, I hit the play button on the DVD player seconds after the closing credits ran.
As for the Internet, Johnson focuses on e-mail and blogging, making the claim that although we may spend less time reading novels, we spend a lot more time writing and that this is beneficial. How can that be a bad thing? (Steve?)
Because I enjoyed this, I'd like to read other, similar things and ask you all to make suggestions. I don't mean "similar" as in "presenting the same arguments". I just mean that I want to read other things that will make me look at things in a different way. I want to read some non-fiction that will get me thinking or will present facts in a new light. Recommend away.