Summer reading

Without a doubt, the best book I read the summer is Running by Jean Echenoz, but his two other biographical novellas, are also worth mentioning.
Running, Lightening and Ravel are three novellas by the French author Jean Echenoz (B. 1946). Each slim volume is about 120 pages long. The style is not quite as minimalist as it is subtle.
Running tells the story of Czech runner Emil Zatopek, who began running at the cusp of World War II and ran through communist Czechoslovakia, through the spring of Prague, through imprisonment and forced labor, and finally lived to see the collapse of the Berlin wall, all the time running between glory and survival.
Lightening focuses on the life Nikola Tesla, underappreciated genius whose end was all but inevitable given his disturbed personality.
Ravel, tellingly from the title, brings us the last ten years in the life of this French composer, who much to his own chagrin, was made famous to the world for the one composition is regarded the least, the Bolero.
Echenoz’s portraits of these three people are distanced, sober and loving. Both their genius and faults are appreciated. Zatopek is focused on his running, Tesla on his obsessions and Ravel on his image. Their struggles were heart wrenching, yet different and as a reader I responded to each character and his personality.


A good laugh at copyright

Hey copyright enthusiast,
We all advocate for copyrights, especially our rights for fair use, for classroom use,
for distance learning, for electronic reserves and all rights that will allow users
to promote the arts and sciences.
We sign petitions, we forward them, we read, we study, we explain to others, we engage in
conversation, we actively promote fair rights.
And once in a while we are in need of comic relief.

Such relief is offered this week in a segment of On The Media,
so Copyright advocates – listen to this,
we are all due a good laugh about copyright every now and then:

In the new farcical sci-fi book Year Zero, aliens, having discovered how wonderful Earth music is, learn that they owe the all the money in the universe to the United States because of its harsh copyright penalties. Brooke talks to author Rob Reid about taking the great copyright debate to absurd new heights.

And another recommendation from my weekend upstate listening to WAMC, and this time from the AcademicMinute: Dr. Tracy Alloway of the University of North Florida explains how using social media can improve the performance of your memory. This is really interesting research about on brain on FB – news is better than we thought.

Dr. Tracy Alloway of the University of North Florida explains how using social media can improve the performance of your memory.