hearing voices

Ruth Oseki observed that “when we read a book, we all are hearing voices.” Books are inanimate objects. She was speaking about her new book on The Road Home Podcast (link to YouTube). I hadn’t stumbled across this podcast before.

The Road Home with Ethan Nichtern

The dude who is interviewing her has written a book by the same name as his podcast.

The Road Home: A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Path by Ethan  Nichtern

The theme to the podcast is Zen Buddhism. I have always had a soft spot for Zen.

I keep thinking about Oseki’s talking Book and her character Benny who can hear inanimate objects. This morning as I read in the biography of C. P. E. Bach by Ottenberg and the letters of C. P. E. it colored how I was thinking about what I was doing. I have enjoyed reading C.P.E.’s letters. I think of it as listening in on him like a book. This listening is very similar to how I experience playing music. I feel like I am in the presence of another mind. This is part of what I like about playing music of other composers. This is definitely along the line Oseki is thinking.

Apple Podcasts on Twitter: "Making pillow-talk literal. Everything is Alive  with @ianchillag⁩ interviews inanimate objects to find out their life  story. https://t.co/UwH0myCDIu https://t.co/LpmcgfxksO" / Twitter
Everything is Alive' podcast interviews a bar of soap and other inanimate  objects | Boing Boing

Speaking of podcasts, Oseki and Nichtern mention one I had never heard of. It’s called “Everything is Alive” and in each episode an actor takes on the persona of an object like a bicycle or a phone booth. Oseki said that she thought it was great and wished that she had known about it when she was writing The Book of Form and Emptiness.


In the episode of The Road Home podcast in which Nichtern interviews Oseki, he mentions Ben Lerner as an example of another author who appears as a character in his own fiction. Oseki does this in A Take for the Time Being.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

I haven’t read the book in which Lerner does this. It’s probably one of the ones I ordered by him. But I have read A Tale for the Time Being.

It was cool listening to Ozeki talk about the “Ruth” in this novel. At first she said that she and character were distinguished by the fact she (the breathing author) was alive. But she quickly got tripped up in thinking about the life of the character “Ruth.” The character “Ruth” also had a kind of life both on the page in the minds of readers.

I like thinking about spending time with minds like Ruth the author and Ruth the character and also characters in books I read as well voices of authors and composers.

The Last Bookseller: A Life in the Rare Book Trade | Stillwater (MN) Public  Library

The Last Bookseller: A Life in the Rare Book Trade by Gary Goodman came across my Facebook feed today. It’s not being published until Dec 7th. I am intrigued. Maybe not enough to purchase without reading some of it. But I will try and remember and see if the local library gets it. It doesn’t come up when I search the library’s online catalogue. Often books that are in process or ordered do come up in that kind of search.

Here’s the blurb from Facebook:

“Highly recommended, partly for Gary Goodman’s portrait of a lost world, but also for its colorful dramatis personae.”—The Washington Post. As both a memoir and a history of booksellers and book scouts, criminals and collectors, The Last Bookseller offers an ultimately poignant account of the used and rare book business during its final Golden Age.

The Flip Side

This is something else that showed up in Facebook feed today. I have been trying to subscribe to it. Supposedly it’s free. Each email takes one issue and links in how the left is thinking about it and also how the right is doing so. This is just up my alley but some reason I haven’t been seeing it in my inbox. When I search, emails come up and they are marked in my inbox but I don’t see them otherwise. Who knows? This is just up my alley.

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