Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – The News: A User’s Manual (Feb 13)

This is my first Friday post for a while, but I thought I’d give this Friday meme combo a try again. I’ve chosen a book that caught my eye at the library earlier in the week. The book is The News: A User’s Manual by Alain de Botton. I don’t know anything about this book, but it looks fairly interesting. Time will tell, if I get a chance to read it before it’s due back. Goodreads has the following description:

the newsFrom the author of The Architecture of Happiness, a thought-provoking look at the manic and peculiar position that news has achieved in our lives.

What does the news do to our brains, our souls and our views of one another? We spend an inordinate amount of time checking on it. It molds how we view reality, we’re increasingly addicted to it on our luminous gadgets, we check it every morning when we wake up and every evening before we sleep-and yet the news has rarely been the focus of an accessible, serious, saleable book-length study. Until now.
Mixing snippets of current news with philosophical reflections, The News will blend the timeless with the contemporary, and bring the wisdom of thousands of years of culture to bear on our contemporary obsessions and neuroses. The News ranges across news categories-from politics to murders, from economics to celebrities, from the weather to paparazzi shows–in search of answers to the questions: “What do we want from this?” and “Is it doing us any good?” After The News, we’ll never look at a celebrity story, the report on a tropical storm, or the sex scandal of a politician in quite the same way again.

Now for this week’s excerpts:

book beginningsBook Beginnings is hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader, who invites anyone to join in, saying: ‘Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.  Please remember to include the title of the book and the author. Leave a link to your post.  If you don’t have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.’

The beginning of The News:

It doesn’t come with any instructions, because it’s meant to be the most normal, easy, obvious and unremarkable activity in the world, like breathing or blinking.

This is a fairly intriguing beginning, and I’m guessing, from the title of the book, that he’s talking about the news here. I used to faithfully watch the news every night, but I stopped doing this probably about five years ago. I started to find it quite pointless and started to get my news fix from various sources online. I don’t really think I’m missing much to be honest and the odd occasion when I’ve caught part of a news broadcast on TV, usually when visiting someone else, has pretty much confirmed this for me.

Friday 56The Friday 56 is a book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice and the rules are as follows:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.

It’s that simple.

From page 56 of The News:

Refusing to square with human nature, it allows our hopes to smash constantly against the same shoals; it greets every day with faux cherubic innocence, only to stoke up rage and disillusionment at our condition by nightfall.

This excerpt seems to confirm my reasons as to why I don’t bother watching the news any more. It sounds like a fairly heavier kind of read, but I think I’ll give it a try nonetheless.

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2 thoughts on “Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – The News: A User’s Manual (Feb 13)

    • It’s just one of those books that you sometimes see at the library that is intriguing enough to pick up. It’s so cold here this weekend that I might just have to stay inside and give it a read. Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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