In this virtual planet we call the blogosphere, as you know, that kind of judging is also operative; a blog title (or its subtitle or tag line) as well as the titles of individual posts can mean everything, can decide whether a reader's gonna dip into a blog and into a post or not. I like to think I'm good at this Madison Avenue–branding blah blah blah and that you're actually reading these words because the word judge and also the word don't in my title above snagged you. Or that images, like the picture to the right of the next paragraph, are performing like a "good hook"
Well, yesterday, at my local city library, I got snagged. Near the checkout robot whatchamacallits, there was one of those rollaway bookshelf/cart thingies that advertised withdrawn library books for sale. Fifty cents! And for hardbacks too. Since I also like to think I'm a savvy deal-finder I was immediately sucked in.
As a quote-unquote deal-finder, I often annoy my wife Mary Ann by consistently telling friends what a great low price I paid on eBay for some recent purchase or other, like for example these Beatle (or Beatle-ish) boots I'm wearing at this moment: Giorgio Brutini demi-boots with Cuban heels
Anyway, the title of one particular nonfiction book on that sale rack yesterday snagged me: Science Friction by Michael Shermer. In case your brain's messing with your eyes &mdash and of course our brains are always (re)editing what we see, etc. — there's an R in that second word. What a clever title, I thought. Especially given the subtitle of Shermer's book: Where the Known Meets the Unknown. The vertical image of a recently snuffed, smoky match highlights the idea of friction, of the scientific known rubbing up against, irritating, the unknown, igniting them, one might suppose, into an intriguing intellectual flame. If you hold a match upside down, like it's shown here, you're gonna scorch your fingers, even more intriguing.
The book's cover art further embedded that 50-cent hook. As you can see, we've got a black cover against which the main title
Trying to locate a suitable image of the book cover online (before I finally decided to scan it myself because there weren't any good ones), I learned through googola woogola that the phrase "science friction" has been used quite a lot. Google it yourself, focusing especially on images
A comic book cover–style flyer for a Naked Girls Reading event in Boston. Click on the picture at right to expand this full-color image, trés cool. This Naked Girls Reading phenomenon &mdash something new to me — seems to be an performance-art movement that started in Chicago: nude women reading literature in public performance. The main NGR website features international "franchises" in cities across the US and the world. Check out the NGR blog as well. In this context, the word "friction" in Boston's "science friction" event is entertainingly bawdy and
I wonder if Naked Girls Reading is related (if only in spirit) to a couple other onine "literary nudity" projects: novelist Tracy Williams, known as The Naked Blonde Writer, who has read her work naked online, and fiction writer Carol Muskoron who, according to Google, has (had?) a website called Naked Novelist. I couldn't get this site to load today, but here's an interview of Muskoron by Andrea Semple. (Semple's cool literary website also has other interviews of authors that are worth checking out. Also, as far as I can tell nakednovelist.com exists but seems to be at present just a blank page. Evidently, from articles written ten years ago, Muskoron was a webcam lifecaster who could be watched writing in the nude.)
At any rate, back to Naked Girls Reading, it seems fairly easy to open your own franchise if there isn't already one in your area
Back to the phrase "science friction"
Well, I'm really not too sure any more how we got here, but clearly the phrase "science friction" is resonant and evocative indeed. And as a title it rocks!
I'll get back to you about the Shermer book Science Friction. I've started reading and it's definitely fascinating. Perhaps we can judge a book by its cover. At least, sometimes. Let's leave it there, shall we?
Please post a comment below. I'd love to know what you're thinking. Ingat
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