I've been running through a pretty significant library of extra-curricular reading lately (thank you, Kindle app). It's been awesome. I read "Here Comes Everybody," then "Groundswell," both of which were solid reading for any social media buff. Then I moved on to "The Networked Nonprofit," which I am declaring to be compulsory reading for anyone who does anything in the world and wants to do it smarter, simpler, and more effectively. I dug "The Starfish and the Spider" for the concept, not so much for the hands-on. (It's actually a good companion piece to "Networked Nonprofit.") And now I've caught the gaming bug - I'm just getting into "Reality is Broken." And it's awesome.
Jane McGonigal is quickly becoming a new hero of mine. She's smart, and talented, and often funny. She's simultaneously grounded and hopelessly optimistic. She uses the word "gamefulness." She's so cool!
McGonigal is out there saying that there are things that are broken in the world, and maybe the lessons we learn from games can help us fix them. Maybe making our lives more game-like will add meaning to our lives. (Just read the book.)
I don't care if she's "right." She makes me want to believe.
Games and art make life worth living. Ok, I can buy that; game on.
Alan and I are beginning to feel a little overwhelmed about our impending move to New York. On Sunday I sat down with a friend of my mom (a man whom she has described as one of the oddest people on the planet, but brilliant and kind) who gave me, among other things, a mortifying lecture about the horrors or American cockroaches and bedbug infestations in New York apartments. But we have to get to New York and get an apartment before we can meet whatever six-legged tenants we may be sharing space with...
We have to move our books. We have to move lots of things, but the books in particular are tough. They have sentimental value - this one came from Bubbe, this one we found at that cute store in Austin, this is the one the cat peed on, etc. They add warmth and a sense of home. They also weigh a shit-ton and are going to kill us on moving expenses if we don't get rid of some.
As it turns out, I am far more willing to brutally ax my library than Alan is. His philosophy is that a "maybe" should default to "yes." Mostly I disagree and think that's a pretty good way to become a hoarder and cry on Oprah.
But it's more complicated when it comes to Jewish books. The "Jewish bookshelf," as my Scottish friend Martin loves to call it, is the centerpiece of a Jewish life. It contains the wisdom of our people. It's the source of questions and answers and more questions. There's something special about just having them, whether or not they get read.
I think they should be used. I think it would be better to donate the books to a synagogue, or a friend, make sure they're not lying waste and collecting dust, than to bring them for the sake of having them. Alan is less amenable to this idea. Ultimately, he is the one who delves into them, and we agreed he would have final say where Jewish books are concerned.
But that doesn't make them any lighter.