I’m a voracious reader. Last November and December I was in Ecuador for two months where I was reading a book every three days. All my life I have enjoyed reading.
My reading material is extremely eclectic . For example, last week , I was reading a book by the Jungian Therapist James Hillman titled,” The Force of Character”.
The gist of the book was that in order to attain character we have to age. He also mentions that the concept of character is rather passe now in the twenty first century. It’s all about personalities.Witness the focus on personalities like Donald Trump for example. Then there are the character assassination of political figures or people in power that have been very popular recently.
At the same time I was reading, ” Last Light ” by Andy McNab about a professional Assassin. This book has an interesting ending.
This was followed by another book called “, Critical Space” by Greg Rucka which went into the anatomy of an a assassin. I found this a most enjoyable book with an ending that one might not expect.
This week I am reading two books simultaneously- “Shop Class as Soul Mate ” by Matthew B. Crawford and “The Piano Shop on the Left Bank ” by T.E. Carhart.
These two books on first appearance look as if they might not have anything in common but when you read them they have a lot in common but their perspectives are very different.
The thesis in ,”Shop Class As Soulcraft ” is that we are becoming less autonomous in our lives because of everything made now is so complicated that the average person can not fix it or it is so much cheaper to buy a new one that fix the old one. This he claims is making us less and less independent as human beings.
He talks about the school system and how computers have taken over the training of young men and women and the shop classes have been discontinued because they are so expensive compared to teaching computers. There is a great need in industry for skilled manuel labor but none are found because of the lack of training in the school system. The author is interesting because he traded in his training – a doctorate in political science and a job in a think tank to open up a motorcycle shop in a small town.
He is so much more fulfilled with his new profession as motorcycle mechanic.
This book was on the New York Times bestsellers list and I can understand why even after only starting the book.
It addresses very important issues in our society in regards to the value of work. Most people in their work life do only administrative duties , never make anything ,fix anything in essence do not add any real value to society. These people did to feel unsatisfied in their lives.
In the book “The Piano Shop on the Left Bank”, the author , T.E. Carhart shares with us his happiness and joy of having discovered a piano repair shop on his way to taking the children to school . This leads him to check it out and eventually buy a piano and begin piano lessons again as an adult.
He talks a great length about the young man who is assisting in the store and how the art of piano repair is both a great intelligent skill and a physical skill as in the case of motor cycle reapair. Both have to have great intelligence to diagnosis the problem of why the bike does not work or the piano does not play well.
I find both these books are timely as the world becomes more and more mechanized. They speak of a time when the world was more real, not digital, the average man or woman could fix things instead of disposing of them and going to Wal Marts to replace them. New products also have a very short life relative to older products that were made say 3 or 4 decades ago that would last for decades.
It bodes for radical changes in our society world wide.
Both books tell great stories and at the same time are a social criticism of the times.