Thursday, June 15, 2006

UCSD Summer Reading Program

Working at UCSD has some pretty cool perks, one of them is full use of all the university libraries. Over the last couple months I've been taking advantage of my library privileges, checking availability, reserving books, and renewing renewing them.

Recently on the staff intranet there was a post about the Worship a Good Book program, which students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to check out books from the libraries and then write a short review on them. They give you the choice of answering a few questions, such as "If you could rename the book, what would the new title be? Why?" and "Discuss one new thing you learned reading this book.". You're only required to answer one, and you get various prizes for the more reviews you do.

I plan on getting up to ten reviews by September 4th, when the contest is over, and then I'll be eligible for a book bunje (whatever that is). They also have various awards, and I'm going to shoot for theJust Siskel Award" for most creative and insightful. Below I posted my first review of A Scanner Darkly which is soon to be a movie this summer, enjoy!

Worhsip a Good Book Review of A Scanner Darkly:

Name your favorite character or theme in the book and why:
The theme of constant surveillance. Even though Bob knows that his other personality, Fred, is watching him he still acts as if nothing is happening. Would we in reality do the same if we knew someone was watching us constantly? We already know that to some extend we're being monitored, with surveillance cameras in banks, stores, and even red lights. Does this somehow add pressure on our subconscious, the fact that every move and every thought we make can be monitored and recorded? Technology is becoming so prevalent in our life it's like a the drugs in the book, we don't know where it stops and we begin.
Discuss one new thing you learned reading this book:
At the end of the book there's an Author's Note, in which Dick describes his own drug experiences (the book is a loose autobiography on him) and those around him. He dedicates the book to those he knew whose lives were damaged or destroyed (including his own) because of their addictions and relentless pursuit of their version of happiness. Drug addiction isn't something that someone just decides to get into like a hobby, gradually events in someone's life leads them into it. This is seen in the book with the character of Bob Archer and him starting as a narcotics dealer and eventually dropping so much Substance D that he splits his personality into two.The first a drug addict and the second an undercover agent watching him more and more with the surveillance equipment, both totally unaware of each other.. This is Dicks allegory for the drug addict, one side wants to stop the actions he's doing, and the other continuing to do so cause it's the only way they know happiness. What I've learned from the story and characters is that even though drug addiction starts as a choice, eventually it becomes something uncontrollable and out of the users hands, no matter how much they want to stop.