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Why I Haven’t Purchased a Kindle… or Another E-reader

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There has been exponential growth in the market towards E-readers.  I am a firm believer that this market will continue to grow and is a huge part of the future of publishing.  However, someone asked me a few months ago about seminary and e-readers and I thought I might spur some discussion as to why I haven’t purchased a Kindle or any other e-reader yet…

The pros to the e-readers are twofold and substantial.  First, size/portability, I can fit an entire library of books in the palm of my hand.  Second, I can take advantage of search.  Even the most steel trap and voluminous mind cannot instantaneously search through books they have read and annotated.  I am sure there are more benefits (cost/book…) but being that I don’t own one I cannot legitimately weigh in on more than the first two (you can list additional pros in the comments section).

The pros to actual physical book texts are fourfold:  tactile, speed, annotation, and ownership.

Tactile: First, I am a tactile person who enjoys the feel of paper and appreciates a well-bound book (and is annoyed by poorly bound books… *cough* crossway *cough*).

Speed: Second, a recent study (which in my view did not have a statistically significant sample size at only 32 persons) showed that a physical paper text read was 6.2% faster than an iPad and 10.7% quicker than a Kindle.

Annotation: Third, annotation is one of the main reasons I read.  With a fine pen I can use my elaborate annotation system to mark important ideas, paragraphs, sections, and quotations – as well as, interact with the text with my own follow-up responses to the text.  Annotation is critical for my reading process and is what helps me not have to re-read books several times in order to go back to important ideas, passages, and arguments.

Ownership:  Lastly, is the idea of ownership.  For me personally, the idea of ownership of a physical book is the biggest trump card over the e-readers.  Here is what I mean by ownership – when I go and buy a physical book (used, new… whatever), I own that book and can keep it, re-sell it, or donate it.  With an E-reader, if a book ends up in my re-sell or donate pile, I cannot do anything with that book besides delete it of my device or keep it there.  Perhaps one of you who understands some of these devices can speak to this related issue – what happens when my E-reader dies and I have to buy the same E-reader or a different platform of E-reader, do I still own the books on the device that died?  My understanding is that the answer is no on all or most accounts (with perhaps the exception of an iPad were you synced and backed up e-books).  With that said, I believe that with the e-reader’s you are essentially renting a text.  I would prefer to own a text and not run the risk of losing my entire library because I didn’t sync my device or because my device was broke or stolen or some superior platform came out and I have to re-purchase my whole library.

At the end of the day it is a subjective question.  Books are resources. I need a book for a lifetime and want to bequeath it to my progeny. E-books fail in the resource column in my opinion. They are convenient in some areas but I need certain texts for life.

My two cents.  Your thoughts… and/or flaws in my argument(s)…

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Written by Michael Graham

October 17, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Posted in Culture, Recommended Books

Tagged with , , ,

Best Links of the Week

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Stephen Prothero, religion Professor at Boston University, deconstructs the reductionistic idea that all religions are fundamentally they same.

Amazing composite picture of the most recent solar eclipse.  Note the detail on the moon and the magnetic affect on the solar flares emanating from the sun.

Apparently, Google Streetview is also logging your Wifi information and MAC addresses.  This is not good if you care at all about privacy.  I certainly hope they reconsider publishing this information later this year.

10 Strangest Alternative Safes.

Stephen Hawking presents argumentation that belief in aliens is rational, mathematical.  If I affirmed macroevolution, I think I would be in agreement with Hawking on this point.

Incredible photos from Iceland and the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull volcano.

Andy Crouch (Culture Making) reviews James Daveson Hunter’s new book, “To Change the World

The Washington Times on “Financial Fascism

How Goldman Sachs Screwed Ghana”  Goldman Sachs has a number of folks in the Obama administration:  Gary Gensler (Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission); Mark Patterson (former Goldman lobbyist and Chief of Staff to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner); Robert Hormats (Undersecretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs); Stephen Friedman (former COO and Chairman of the Board of Goldman Sachs [he still sits on the board] now Chairman of the United State’s Presidents Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board); Henry Paulson (former CEO of Goldman Sachs, former Treasury Secretary, and chief architect of the nationalization of crappy securitized debt).  It should be noted that George W. Bush had deep relationships with Goldman Sachs.

And for your viewing pleasure, here is Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) skewering a Goldman Sachs Executive on one of Goldman Sach’s self-proclaimed “shitty deals,” it happened to be some CDOs: 

Lovely Day for a Guinness

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Os Guinness that is...

Justin Taylor has a wonderful little interview of Os Guinness, where he peppers him with insightful questions regarding on old book, The Gravedigger File (in anticipation for his forthcoming book The Last Christian on Earth).  For those not familiar with Guinness, he is the great-great-great grandson of Arthur Guinness, brewer and founder of Guinness beer.  He is a keen analyzer of evangelicalism and a necessary read for developing both a Christian worldview and philosophy of ministry.  He is well-travelled, well thought out, cogent, and prescient in his thinking.  1983’s Gravedigger put forth the idea that Christianity was the major force behind modernization and capitalism in the West and what Christianity created it also uncritically adopted, thereby undermining Christianity.  Undoubtedly true.

A.W. Tozer Critique of the “New Cross” of Popular Evangelicalism

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I ran across this quote from A.W. Tozer in his relatively unknown book, The Pursuit of Man.

But if I see aright, the cross of popular evangelicalism is not the cross of the New Testament.  It is, rather, a new bright ornament upon the bosom of self-assured and carnal Christianity whose hands are indeed the hands of Abel, but whose voice is the voice of Cain.  The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them.  The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses.  The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it.  The old cross brought tears and blood; the new cross brings laughter.

Tozer wrote this in 1950:  eerily prophetic, alarmingly true.

A.W. Tozer on “The Veil” that Keeps Us from Spiritual Progress

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The Pursuit of God - A.W. Tozer

There are few books that I purpose to re-read every year:  one of those few is The Pursuit of God, by A.W. Tozer.  It is short but cuts straight to the heart.  The first three chapters alone are worth the price of the book.  Here is one of my favorite passages:

There is something more serious than coldness of the heart, something that may be back of that coldness and be the cause of its existence.  What is it?  What but the presence of a veil in our hearts?  A veil not taken away as the first veil was, but which remains there still shutting out the light and hiding the face of God from us.  It is the veil of our fleshley, fallen nature living on, unjudged within us, uncrucified and unrepudiated.  It is the close-woven veil of the self-life whihc we have never truly acknowledged, of which we have been secretly ashamed, and which for these reasons we have never brought to the judgment of the cross.  It is not too mysterious, this opaque veil, nor is it hard to identify.  We have but to look into our own hearts and we shall see it there, sewn and patched and repaired it may be, but there nevertheless, an enemy to our lives and an effective block to our spiritual progress…

It is woven of the fine threads of the self-life, the hyphenated sins of the human spirit.  They are not something we do, they are something we are, and therein lies their subtlety and their power.

To be specific, the self-sins are self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love and a host of others like them.  They dwell to deep within us and are too much a part of our natures to come to our attention till the light of God is focused upon them.  The grosser manifestations of these sins – egotism, exhibitionism, self-promotion – are strangely tolerated in Christian leaders, even in circles of impeccable orthodoxy.  They are so much in evidence as actually, for many people, to become identified with the gospel.

Guilty as charged, this passage is the main reason I re-read this book.  We are blessed beggars in God’s economy of grace.  May it convict you as it has me time and time again.

Convicting Gem from Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”

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Don't Waste Your Life: Click for the free PDF book

Oh, how many lives are wasted by people who believe that the Christian life means simply avoiding badness and providing for the family.  So there is no adultery, no stealing, no killing, no embezzlement, no fraud – just lots of hard work during the day, and lots of TV and PG-13 videos in the evening (during quality family time), and lots of fun stuff on the weekend-woven around church (mostly).  This is life for millions of people.  Wasted life.  We were created for more, far more.  John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life, ch. 7, pps. 119-120.

Ouch.  That hits close to home.  Full book available in PDF here.

Written by Michael Graham

January 7, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Some Excellent Puritan Works on Sale…

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…from Reformation Heritage Books.

Written by Michael Graham

December 22, 2009 at 9:20 am

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