So, without further ado, let's play Why's My Bookbag or E-Reader Equivalent So Heavy? (that used to be so much more succinct in the pre-Kindle daze).
My latest read is A Geography of Time by Robert Levine. A few snippets:
The essential purpose of diligent and brave observation of the other is to clarify the nature and the limits of the self, which leads one to conclude that the best travel writers are people who, needing that clarification, are at bottom unsure of the nature and limits of home and their relation to it. They move out of the house. So that like Hawthorne's Wakefield, they can look back and see what's true there.
The more developed the country, the less free time per day. What kind of rule is this? The more timesaving machinery there is, the more pressed a person is for time. SEBASTIAN DE GRAZIA, Of Time, Work, and Leisure
It is one of the great ironies of modern times that, with all of our time-saving creations, people have less time to themselves than ever before. Life in the Middle Ages is usually portrayed as bleak and dreary, but one commodity people had more of than their successors was leisure time. Until the Industrial Revolution, in fact, most evidence suggests that people showed little inclination to work. In Europe through the Middle Ages, the average number of holidays per year was around 115 days. It is interesting to note that still today, poorer countries take more holidays, on the average, than richer ones. It has often been the very creations intended to save time that have been most responsible for increasing the workload. Recent research indicates that farm wives in the 1920's, who were without electricity, spent significantly less time at housework than did suburban women, with all their modern machinery, in the latter half of the century. One reason for this is that almost every technical advance seems to be accompanied by a rise in expectations. For example, when cheap window glass was introduced in Holland at the end of the seventeenth century it became impossible to ignore the dirt that accumulated indoors.
"hurry sick- ness. If you are curious whether your case has progressed to this advanced stage, look for these three symptoms: Do you notice ... • ... deterioration of the personality, marked primarily by loss of interest in aspects of life except for those connected with achievement of goals and by a preoccupation with numbers, with a growing tendency to evaluate life in terms of quantity rather than quality? • ... racing-mind syndrome, characterized by rapid, shifting thoughts that gradually erode the ability to focus and concentrate and create disruption of sleep? • ... loss of ability to accumulate pleasant memories, mainly due to either a preoccupation with future events or rumination about past events, with little attention to the present? Focusing on the present is often limited to crises or problems; therefore memories accumulated tend to be of unpleasant situations.