Reading in real life

“Give yourself unto reading.
The man who never reads will never be read;
he who never quotes will never be quoted.
He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains,
proves that he has no brains of his own.
You need to read.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Recently I set myself a goal of reading more and writing more. Today I found a tool to help me put with both of these things.

It’s called Good Reads.

I wish that I was being paid to endorse it, but no.

It’s a site that seems to be able to help me get something done, that I wanted to get done, in a simple way. So here I am, writing about it after posting my first review, and installing their service as a widget on the site (a double whammy).

I previously considered using a Google form and even went to the trouble of drafting one something that would:

  • track my progress,
  • list books that I want to read; and
  • share book recommendations with my friends,

but the Good Reads site has the added bonus that machines will one day be able to tell me what I want to read, based on my likes and dislikes (and, of course, the assumptions and cultural biases built into the machines by their designers and the data that they’re harvesting about me, which is contaminated due to me routinely posting wrong information about myself to confuse actual people.

I am curious to know if a machine made by a code crunching, tech head with a different social standing to my own* will come without assumptions that I don’t radically disagree with and the ability to see through my ruse.

Time will tell.

*probably an overweight, awkward, introvert who wears t-shirts to work because we all make assumptions don’t we and generalisations are the basis of most initial thinking in the app world.


As can be seen from the opening quote, this isn’t an exercise in simple self-improvement. It’s a direct response to the persistent urging of Tony Wilson in ‘24 Hour Party People’ to read more, about everything from Boethius to the Durruti Column; to the meaning of a ‘benelux’ and Andrea del Sarto.

Not bad for a novelisation. The “lowest form of art.”

I think the word I’m fishing for vis a vis Herr Wilson, is “wanker,” although Wilson himself seems to prefer to be called “pretentious” and/or “git”.

Cum ci, cum ca.

Some day, after I re-read Theodore Adorno and Louis Althusser, I am going to write about ideology…



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