I've been devouring Geek Sublime by Vikram Chandra, which I was given as a Christmas present. The book ties together foundations of computer science, Sanskrit, and the writer's own life experiences. It does not stay up in the clouds creating clever equivalences and brain porn moments but also examines the relationship between the powerful and the powerless, the remembered and the forgotten.
And so Sanskrit is a beautiful language with a rich legacy, but it's also a tedious rote subject inflicted on countless students in the name of shoring up social ideas of purity and hierarchy. Code is amazing, but much of it is promulgated by strutting jerks who see themselves as the new masters of the universe.
One thing the book mentions that I particularly like is the Indian aesthetic theory of rasas. Originally formulated in the context of theatre about two millennia ago, the idea is applicable to all forms of art and literature.
Why do I like it so much? Because it describes a precise mechanism by which art and literature actually work.
It's a fairly infamous question, and one that has writers give annoyed and unhelpful answers. There are notable exceptions, like this excellent essay by Neil Gaiman.
It's a question I just got asked for the first time, and to my surprise, I realized I have a fairly concrete answer.
I recently read A Mountain Walked, a compilation of modern writing based on HP Lovecraft. I quite enjoyed the stories. Then I read The Litany of Earth by Ruthanna Emrys, and re-evaluated the stories in the compilation: they were actually really, awfully shallow.
#webdesign question: do you use ­?— David Stark (@zarkonnen_com) January 1, 2016
I did a Twitter poll the other day, and given the results, you might find the following post interesting.