Two cool books for work and fun

Normally, I don’t mention these sorts of things here, but I bought two books today that are so cool, I thought I’d have to pass the info along.

The one for “work” is a book called Memory Bytes: History, Technology, and Digital Culture, edited by Lauren Rabinovitz and Abraham Geil (Duke UP, 2004). I’d give a link to amazon.com or something, but they seem to only have an $80 hardback version of this thing available. Anyway, while the books is mostly interested in digital culture and media studies (film, TV, radio, that sort of thing), the basic point of the book is the same as the one that I’m trying to put together. To quote from the introduction: “Discussions about digital culture assume that new computerized technologies provide such fundamental rupture from the past that there are no continuities or, worse, that they willfully obliterate the past in creating new models. Such ahistoricism is problematic because it tends to reproduce at the level of scholarship what is one of the hallmarks of digital culture– its rhetoric of newness.” And then a little later: “To understand the current consequences of social and physical change– to understand digital culture– requires a philosophical and historical framework for a duration longer than the last twenty years.” Great stuff.

The one for “fun” is actually McSweeney’s Issue 13. At $24, hard-bound, and 250+ pages, it’s a lot more of a book than an issues of the innovative periodical. But whatever it is, it’s a great collection of contemporary comics/graphic fiction. Generally, I’m not really much into this sort of thing, but I think this thing is one of the coolest put-together book/periodical projects I’ve seen in the book store in a long time.

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