I have a strong personal belief that people today do not read enough philosophy. Aside from the prolific Slavoj Žižek, there are few-to-no critics who are both popular and non-religious. Where philosophy was in the past seen as a field worthy of universal study, today we find it separates and clusters along denominational lines. Put simply, no matter how polarizing a figure Rob Bell may be, he’s part of a niche market.
I’ve touched previously on the struggles low-income families and students face when trying to access reading materials, and have emphasized buying used books as a viable alternative to paying high cover prices. I realize, however, that my reasoning has heretofore failed to include those who could buy used but don’t have to. Here, then, for your reading pleasure is a list of four simple facts to compel anyone, regardless of socioeconomic status, to buy used books. Continue reading
I’ve said before that a reading habit, for individuals and families with far-stretched budgets, can be both expensive and difficult to maintain. In that post, I did not address the all-too-common predicament of low-income college students, who must, when their financial aid runs out, choose between exorbitant out-of-pocket spending and the risk of academic failure. For those individuals who want to read for pleasure, but cannot because of economic situations, the limitations of income are mere inconveniences. To the already-indebted college student pursuing a degree, however, a lack of book funds constitutes dire straits. Neither of these problems is new, but both are persistent. Continue reading
Adults have been reading juvenile fiction for decades—The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, anyone?—but the practice, as a contemporary phenomenon, has divided the literati along ideological lines. Taking the pro position are those who believe that any reading is preferable to none whatsoever, and who are loathe to discount a work of fiction’s literary status on the sole basis of the novel’s intended audience. Against them stand the thinkers who chastise adults for foregoing age-appropriate literature in favor of YA pop fiction: Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, etc. Continue reading
One of the side-effects of being a geek is an inevitable interest in East Asian culture. Whether you got sucked in through anime, electronics, films, manga, pop music, or video games, you eventually up in the same place. Often times, however, Westerners’ awareness of China, Japan, and Korea only goes so far. While most geeks are eager to reprimand others’ ignorant comments, few have any real interest in the sociopolitical dynamics of East Asian countries; aside from the Samurai and Shaolin, Asian history gets ignored in favor of Herodotean generalizations about male-dominated societies and femicide. Continue reading