September always feels like the start of a new year to me. Between how many years of being marked by the beginning of a new school year, September is also my birth month, which seems to invite change and turning over a new leaf. Due to the combination of the two, it’s no surprise that I tend to feel incredibly motivated to read and learn all I can, which is why I’ve decided to include some of my favorite, more “academic” reads in this month’s round up.
Now, this doesn’t mean I’m assigning you a bunch of textbooks to read. There’s some non-fiction, some new literary theory (presented in a fun and quirky way! I promise it’s not wordy or dull!), one of my favorite novels that doubles as an insightful look into how we read, and a creative manifesto I’ve been dying to read myself!
Steal Like an Artist – Kleon’s book gets mentioned on a fairly regular basis as an inspirational guide for self-proclaimed creatives and non-creatives alike. The premise is simple: everyone can be creative; and nothing is truly original.
Hamlet on the Holodeck – I first heard about Hamlet on the Holodeck as sort of a joke. You see, I am the resident tech geek of my education program, and after an interesting discussion on a virtual reality Macbeth, this little gem of a book was mentioned. I have yet to read it myself, so I’ll just leave you with this official blurb from Amazon:
Stories define how we think, play, and understand our lives. In this comprehensive and readable book — already a classic statement of the aesthetics of digital media, acclaimed by practitioners and theorists alike — Janet Murray shows how the computer is reshaping the stories we live by.Murray discusses the unique properties and pleasures of digital environments and connects them with the traditional satisfactions of narrative. She analyzes the dramatic satisfaction of participatory stories and considers what would be necessary to move interactive fiction from the formats of childish games and confusing labyrinths into a mature and compelling art form. Through a blend of imagination and techno-wizardry, Murray provides both readers and writers with a guide to the storytelling of the future.
House of Leaves – Once you get to about page 120, take this book to a cafe to read. Trust me, the looks you’ll receive as you hold up your compact will be worth it. At the narrative level, House of Leaves is a pretty creepy story, but Danielewski doesn’t stop there. There are layers and layers of visual and textual components and narrative paths that shape how you read the various levels of the story (it’s like book-ception; it’s a book about a man’s discovery of a academic journal about a documentary about a house that expands from the inside – whew!), which is one of my all-time favorites!
Reality Hunger: A Manifesto – Similar to Steal Like an Artist, Reality Hunger tackles what being creative means in a digital age, with Sheilds often employing the very tactics he talks about to make his own point.