Last weekend was busy enough that I'm blogging about it this weeked.
On Saturday, April 24, I turned 45. I marked the day with an energetic bout of yardwork and housework, and then a delightful party that Amy and I hosted.
Among the terrific gifts I received was a PS3, along with various games and a Blu-Ray Disc of "Kingdom of Heaven," from Amy. A PS3 was a device that I had been contemplating for a while, but had shied away from buying since, just by circumstance, I bought some other gadgets (a Droid phone, a Nook, and an iPad) within a short time period. But the PS3 proved propitious. I find it a fascinating "convergence device," as the kids call it nowadays, in that it brings together hi-def videogames, Sony's Blu-Ray video format, and various Internet-connectivity features.
On Sunday, April 25, we made our traditional journey to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books that is inevitably held on or around my birthday. (In 2008 and 2009, we took advantage of that by holding the birthday party at the Festival.) Two notable, and seemingly contradictory, points about the Festival: First, it was enormously crowded -- more so than in previous years; and second, the major bookseller chains, Borders and Barnes & Noble, have eliminated their presence at the Festival. The first point seems to indicate a strong interest in books, even here in the land of TV and motion pictures. Sure, many of the guests at the Festival were TV, movie and musical folk who had one toe dipped into the literary world; but people there were definitely buying, talking, and savoring books. The second point indicates that the chains that dominate bookselling (increasingly forcing independent booksellers to the periphery) don't find renting space at the festival and pitching their wares worthwhile.
Although in past years I've brought home stacks of books, this year I purchased only two: the graphic novel "Hunter's Fortune" (http://www.amazon.com/Hunters-Fortune-Andrew-Cosby/dp/160886006X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1272835540&sr=1-1); and the literary short-story collection "You Must Be This Happy to Enter" by Elizabeth Crane (http://www.amazon.com/Must-Happy-Enter-Planet-Books/dp/1933354437/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1272835621&sr=1-1), which the publishers seem desperate not to label as "fantasy," "slipstream," or even "magical realism" despite zombies, time travel, and buildings turning transparent. I view this less as disenchantment with print than as a recognition of the piles of physical books in our house, and the appeal of ebooks as a no-clutter alternative.