For my dear patrons I have uploaded issue #1 of The Riverside Companion, a new series with notes and extras for River at Night. It’s a PDF for now, will be a print zine soon, and will probably be up for sale later in the summer.
Cataloguing the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age
by Alex Wright
-Writer of Glut: Mastering Information through the Ages. Wright wrote an article in Designing Universal Knowledge, a mind-expanding sprint through the evolution of information systems, which caused me to seek out his other work. This Otlet book, which I got for Christmas(!) a couple years ago and finally read, was interesting, a bummer to read about how Otlet’s life work was destroyed and his hopes dashed and destroyed, and not the ecstatic trip into deep wizardry I was hoping for…more like a biography and some magazine article chapters about his connection to the Internet creators. Maybe a deeper dive into the archives and theories is what I was looking for, and more pictures of the drawings and notes like this. The milieu of optimistic modernist Belgium was interesting to read about…a cool book, glad I finally got to it.
Who is Rich?
by Matthew Klam
-Novel about sad dad, former cartoonist with sex issues. Page turner, lyrical, well-written.
How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning, and Thinking—for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers
by Sönke Ahrens
-Read this in one day. More theory and justification of the system than actual practical talk about the system, but there’s enough of that in there if you hunt for it. As a book that exemplifies its own system, it’s a mixed bag. Too much linkage and sprawl, maybe?? As Tom K said “It's almost a philosophy of mind book in disguise,” and the touchstones of this are familiar to me and I was already on board, so I sped through a lot of it. There is also the fact maybe that this is just “notecard writing” which is what I was taught in AP English in high school…but there’s new stuff in there about linkages and meta-structures and how to keep it simple and useful…what NOT to do. Good book for students! I’d make it part of my teaching repertoire if I was still teaching… Anyways it made me optimistic and excited to get back into “my studies” and re-connected me with some ideas and practices I’ve let slip…I’m more into the paper and pen version than digital… This book also is a application and corrective to GTD for creative work (Souther Salazar). Next: apply this all to the process of comics making? Or maybe the daily strip constraints, the newspaper etc. is already that? The idea of this book and GTD etc. that the system is a virtuous cycle of low stress routines and tasks, out of which emerges the work… Also! connections, networks, hypertext and nonlinear textual links and metatexts etc with the Otlet book.