Reading Commentaries and/or Justifications

In my “reading” section, I have had the same three books up for quite some time. In my attempt to justify this lenghty reading time frame, I figured I would chat out some of the reasons why it’s going so slow.

I started reading The Virtual Window in October on the plane home from AoIR. An aesthetically fantabulous book (the texture of the paper is amazing!), the format of the book itself does not make it very reader friendly. The fact that it is so beautiful, I have not been able to bring myself to write in it – not even with a pencil. So every reading session requires post it notes for in book comments, ticky tabs for general important page indicating, and finally a notebook or computer/laptop for any extensive note taking. For me – this is a lot to accompany reading a book. But all this aside, the reading has been slow as well. While the general topic of the historical relevance of the frame and the window in today’s digital world interests me greatly, learning about perpectival techniques in painting and the camera obscura … well – not as much. Since I do not like to skim a book I am reading (unlike when I am ‘researching’), I am finding myself a bit bored with the historical recountings. Don’t get me wrong – there are a few nuggets of information in the first 68 pages to make the pages worth turning – however, it makes each reading session relatively short. I will write about the book’s content a bit more when I actually get past the historical elements.

I am also reading The Boundless Self: Communications in physical and virtual spaces. I love the way this book is shaping up. Written in a very readable manner, with a slight turn to entertaining while teaching – the turning of the pages flow when I sit down to read this one. I have come up with a full flagging system that I have documented in the empty page of the beginning of the book color coding ticky tabs pointing to quotes, references, definitions and random thoughts/ideas. This is the first time I try a full out coding system in my reading – the book is nice, but luckily I feel I can write in it (with pencil of course). I am enjoying the geographer’s perspective on virtual space. I like how it treats digital spaces as a continuum; an extension of our physical space, and tying it into the identity construction process. The only reason I am slow at reading this text is that it is currently not directly related to my ‘get to know film lit’ program I put myself on.

Finally, I am ready Christian Metz’s The Imaginary Signifier. After reading two chapters of this book for an undergraduate ‘catch up’ course in film theory last semester, I thought it would be a good initiation into film studies. I picked up the translated version (as the earlier chapters were laboriously read in French) and I must say, I am rather enjoying it. It is written in a way that feels like Metz is talking to me. The sections are short enough to read in spurts but I am still compelled to want to see what else he has to say. Although I am still in the beginning of the book – one of the things I was happy to read was his thoughts on (the following is my terminology!) how when someone wants to study film as a vocation, they must be past the point of being in love with the film in order to properly theorize about it. Although, one must have ‘loved’ film in the past, they cannot be ‘in’ love with it to do it theoretical justice. When I read this, I was struck at the current to be a gamer or not be a gamer debate in Game Studies. So many people feel that since they ‘play’ they can write about games. A step further, some might argue that you must be a certain type of gamer  (elite, hardcore etc) to truly be able to write about a game. But reading Metz’s words about film theory, I believe that it is also true of games. Indeed, you have to love it enough to want to write about it – and as recent conversations with colleagues have clarified, one’s research question determines the necessary level of gamer-ness, but one must be able to look beyond the love of the game to write about it objectively. Mind you, this is just my 2pp about the matter (and my interpretation of pages 11-15)

Phew! On that note, I suppose I should head out to the gym clear the body a bit before I ravage my brain again.

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