For the past week or so we’ve been partially snowed-in.Â No driving for me, anyway.Â I’m a snow-and-ice wimp.Â Well, the resident twelve-year-old and I got the housebound hives last Saturday and made our way over the piles of snowplow slop to the bus stop and hitched a ride to our local Borders.Â She went for manga – her current obsession.Â I avoided the fiction shelves since I have a stack as tall as me at home (the infamous to-read pile), and decided I’d do a non-fiction splurge.Â
I perused the magazine section, somewhat disillusioned as how much of it is basically directed at individual consumption (or lack therof).Â I could have bought fifty articles on how to lose weight, at least twenty on the recently bombed Quantum of Solace movie, and a whole bunch on cars or sports.Â There weren’t too many magazines dealing with the state of the world.Â But I did find three things to take home:
The totally nostalgic pick:Â A LIFE magazine photoessay on Obama.Â When I was growing up, my parents had a subscription, so we always had copies of LIFE around the house, and I enjoyed those as much as National Geographic (which I still get to this day; LIFE is unavailable as far as I know).Â Anyway, the glossy book was a nice way to combine the comfort of the past with, well, at least the present.Â I read the whole book cover to cover in a bout of insomnia at 3:00 AM the next morning.Â Nothing earth-shattering, but a good warm fuzzy.Â And if you know what that term means without looking it up, you’re as old as me.
The latest MIT Technology review.Â Always a good source of information, and I found one article I’m really interested in on mimicking what leaves do in photosynthesis as a way to create hydrogen for energy storage.Â I like the idea of using natural processes as a way to learn how to live well on the planet, and I really like the idea of finding better ways to store the power of the sun.Â While this research is still early, it will take this breakthrough wildcard or another one like it to actually get out of the gasoline economy and into the clean electric economy.
A Economist magazine special edition looking forward into 2009 (not yet read – if there’s anything interesting, I’ll report on it).
A trade paperback book with essays on 2012, called Toward 2012: Perspectives on the Next Age by Daniel Pinchbeck and Ken Jordan, because I’m in the middle of final editing on a fiction book set in 2012 on the Yucatan Penninsula.Â Maybe there will be an interesting gem in there.
So that’s the kind of thing a futurist looks for in a bookstore.Â I often get asked how I keep up, and it’s really a lot of reading.Â One newspaper a day, many webpages and blogsÂ intermittently, depending on what else I’m doing, and a handful of books or magazines.