Acres of time

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I’ve read this metaphor a few times in various books and blog posts. Literally and scientifically, it doesn’t make sense — “acres” is a unit for measuring the amount of land, based on what I assume is an old English tradition since the rest of the world used the metric system and words like hectares. Growing up in Texas and having spent time in the renewable energy industry barnstorming through West Texas, for me the word conjures up flat, endless expanses of dirt and scrub stretching to the horizon, sliced through by a ribbon of interstate.

It’s space, not time. If it’s smothered in grass, as in a meadow or golf course, I can lie down on it and hit Pause to my day, staying there nestled in the green and maybe dozing off a bit. (Well, assuming I don’t get driven off by a groundskeeper.)

The phrase always makes me stop reading for just a nanosecond, partly because in my mind’s ear it sounds a tiny bit awkward. There is no place in which to rest in time. It’s not a place. There is no pause. Nothing cuts across it. There is no horizon beyond.

Still, I stop partly too because I love the image it evokes. It’s as good a metaphor for eternity as any, and shimmering green grass and glowing yellow horizon makes me think that “acres of time” would be a great place to hang out for awhile.

Why books will always trump e-readers

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People who need to possess the physical copy of a book, and not merely an electronic version, are in some sense mystics. We believe that the objects themselves are sacred, not just the stories they tell. We believe that books possess the power to transubstantiate, to turn darkness into light, to make being out of nothingness. We do not want the experience of reading to be stripped of this transcendent component and become rote and mechanical. That would spoil everything.

— Joe Queenan, One for the Books

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The ‘great and cursed work’ that was the Encyclopédie – Ideas – The Boston Globe

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Here’s the great difference between the Encyclopédie and the Internet, between what reading meant then and what it increasingly passes for today. While Diderot encouraged differences of opinion and perspectives among his closest contributors, he knew that all of them — from Voltaire to Rousseau, Baron d’Holbach to the Chevalier de Jaucourt — took the act of writing as seriously as did those who read it. No activity was more noble.

via The ‘great and cursed work’ that was the Encyclopédie – Ideas – The Boston Globe.