On reading: two strongly-worded rants.

Hello! I’m James Hsu, co-founder of CardBoard Live, author, technologist, and host of the Humans of Magic podcast.

Every Monday, I share what’s on my mind. In the midst of the pandemic, I’ve come to realize that one of the things that truly bring me joy — writing — is missing from the equation. This is my attempt to rectify the situation.

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Rant #1: do people read books anymore?

I know of five friends, tops, who are public about reading books.

Television and movies have supplanted our collective desires to read. It sucks.

I can find fifteen people to discuss The Umbrella Academy with, but nobody to discuss the finer merits of Ryan Holiday’s latest book.

I get it. I have a Netflix subscription, and I am watching The Umbrella Academy season one.

But surely there’s a way to diversify one’s entertainment, and not be mindless about it all the time?

Books remain a solid test of one’s critical thinking, and the best way to explore centuries-old discourse.

Books trigger our imagination. Our minds fill in the visuals.

Rant #2: does the act of reading books have to be such an exceptional event?

People read one book a year and feel the urge to announce it to the world. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, let’s go!

When they do get around to reading the one special book, it’s got to be the Physical Book. That’s the chosen one.

“This is a no-Kindle zone! We won’t stand for anything else!”

Says people who have smartphones glued to their hands and consume digital content all day long.

Reading does not have to be such a traditional, special activity.

Here are the last 12 books I read in 2020:

My question to you:

What are you reading right now? Let me know!

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One Comment

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  1. I read 1 to 2 books a week. Doesn’t matter to me if it’s an ebook or a physical book. I freely admit I have poor taste. I mainly read horror and fantasy. Currently reading “The Sun Down Motel” by Simone St. James. The last Magic-related book I read was “Next Level Magic” by Patrick Chapin. I’ve got “Next Level Deckbuilding” on my nightstand. I hope to get to that sometime soon.


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