Reflections on Foundation and Empire

I finished the second book in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. The style of relating a story across generations continues and I’m growing more accustomed to it and the newness of the idea has worn off, so to speak.

The unique thing in this book is that an individual antagonist is used more heavily throughout and also there is a surprise ending which I rather enjoyed. In fact, I had a nice mental segue where I set the book down on a few occasions to think through some of the happenings of the narrative.

I am continually tackling this stigma I have about reading novels. They seem daunting, and in the case of A Song of Ice and Fire and Tolkien I think that this holds true. However, in the case of Asimov his novels are a very quick read. It has made it nice to quickly read through a large chunk of his writings.

To wrap up, the second book was as good as the first and the third book picks up with a new mystery and a search for a hidden thing. It has been a nice read so far and not what I would describe as hard sci-fi, but rather pretty approachable and science concept light.

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Reflections on Generation Me

I’ve finished my second book by Dr. Jean Twenge about generations. The title Generation Me is another name for Millenials, also known as Gen Y. The short version is that Gen Me is at its core very focused on the self. Believe in yourself. You can do anything and essentially narcissistic, even compared to other American generations.

I found it to also be a quick and compelling read. This generation is now roughly the age of 22-37 and makes up the majority of young adults in America now, including a significant part of the workforce. I’m still mentally transitioning to the fact that students these days are no longer Millennials but are the younger iGen, AKA Gen Z.

I think a key difference between the two generations (Y & Z) are that the older ones (Y) believe in themselves and are self-focused, while the younger generation (Z) are distracted and living primarily through digital-based social media. They both are missing out on real community and personal relationships compared to older generations, but for different reasons. My personal opinion is that this is one of the few key factors contributing to their disenchantments.

This wraps up my generational book reading for this year and I’ll be focused on finishing Isaac Asimov’s Foundation heptalogy. After that it will be 2019 and I can focus on my main reading goal for next year: establish a foundation of modern English literature by reading the works of Shakespeare, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the 1611 KJV bible.

Reflections on Foundation by Asimov

This past summer I started reading many of the works by Isaac Asimov for the first time. He has three major series and I read the first two this summer. They were quite good, and his final series was originally a trilogy. It is actually expanded to seven books and I finished the first one last week.

Foundation is the third book chronologically, in the series, but was the first one written. I decided to read the books in the order written rather than in the internal narrative chronology. I’m happy with this decision and Foundation was not what I expected.

The unique thing about Foundation is that the story takes place over a very long period of time. Chapters or books in the series may continue directly after the previous chapter or they may skip ahead in time by decades or centuries.

This was disorienting at first, but I see now that this is the whole point of the story. To relate the story of the rise and fall of an entire civilization that spans a galaxy, much time must be covered in the narrative.

An interesting side effect of this is that main characters in one chapter may become heroes of old, generations removed, in the next chapter and with new characters!

I’ve already started book two and am half way through it. I plan to zip through these remaining books quickly so that I can focus on my reading goals come 2019. My starting place is the works of Shakespeare alongside the King James Bible (1611) and the Book of Common Prayer (1662) to give me a foundation in modern English works.

Social Media Removal

Have been contemplating my use of social media apps on my phone for most of this year. This past week I started the process and have finally finished deleting my accounts for Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

It’s bittersweet and I will go through some withdrawal from Instagram on my phone. Going back to a browser to interact will feel like stepping back in time; and hopefully that is a good thing.

I’m also hoping this will help me read more literature, post to this blog, perhaps take up a bit of vlogging on YouTube and posting here. Also I’d like to spend more time with people in person.

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve deactivated or deleted Facebook over the past ten years. Not sure if I’ll go back, but I have a hunch this time it will be final. I’ll update on my latest book completion soon.

Reflections on iGen

So I finished reading the book iGen by Jean M. Twenge. As an educator in a public high school, there were not many surprises, but lots of clarification and data about why my students behave and believe the ways that they do. After Millenials, these are the newest younger generation, and the ones currently in school and the university scene (undergrad). Needless to say, this topic hits pretty close to home for me, and is a constant source of reflection for me on a daily basis.

I highly recommend this book, as it gives great insights into how young people today act, and is very helpful if you want to know how to interact with them better. It didn’t take me very long to read through, and I really appreciate the graphs that were used to illustrate trends, comparing iGen to those generations that preceded them. I also bought the author’s book about Millenials, called Generation Me, which was recently updated.