Sunday, August 10, 2014

Forays into US Culture: Downloadable Books...and Other Dystopias

[Introducing a new writing series: "Forays into US Culture".]

I am a diehard reader of books - the bulky sort that don't glow in the dark and are uncomfortable to read in bed and on public transportation, the sort that offer sensory pleasures: smell, feel, texture, visual design and typographic feastings.
I own a Kindle but, until recently, I have avoided reading books on it. Then, I needed an out-of-print book to complete some research and I experienced the ...pleasure ... of the quick and easy Kindle download. Despite evolving into a skeptical human no longer seduced by "quick" nor "easy" I purchased this Kindle edition. (After I found it was the summary, Cliff Notes edition and not the full edition I returned it - a relatively quick and easy process, too.)
Given the almost magical and instantaneous convenience of downloading, I WISH the experience of reading online editions was...deeper and more satisfying; if only it offered greater physical, psychological, and emotion pleasure. Sure, tablets are slim, easy to carry and store, ergonomically engineered ...they offer the social comfort of de rigeur hip-ness and "correct" social signals ....but they do not offer the je ne said quoi of an old fashion, solid book one picks up, reads, puts back on the library shelf, and maintains an ongoing relationship with, albeit intermittent.
Then again, books in general offer more ...disappointment ...these days.
Take, for example, my last two air trips. While a solid search in the airport bookstore turned up a good book each time I needed one to gloss over the boredom of air travel, the majority of reading matter for sale in airport stores falls into limited genres: self help; get rich/successful/beautiful quick; and 'be afraid, be very afraid'.
Is this a case of sour grapes and I am carping because no airport bookstore would ever carry my book, Long Time Passing: Mothers Speak about War and Terror?
Could be. Perhaps I'm just a mean spirited woman full of envy who'd love to have a shot at experiencing my own form of avarice, power, and narcissism.
Then again, maybe I'm just realistic. For my book shares the personal, painful stories of people, not only but predominantly women and mothers, who suffer in war.  It offers no shortcuts to wealth, instrumental intelligence, or advice about getting ahead or holding on to "your man" or becoming "a financially independent woman." Nor is it the sort of 'be afraid, be very afraid' genre that Americans want to face or even think about: how vulnerable each of us is and how vulnerable our families could be because of the policies practiced in our country by powerful people who've never had to struggle for anything in their lives that a feel good self-help book couldn't 'fix' in a few minutes of scanning.

Below is a photographic selection of print matter for sale at airport bookstores in the US...and the persuasive marketing that accompanies the journey from airport shelf, through your wallet, onto your lap as you chew airline peanuts and pretzels, then, as you prepare to land, into a large plastic garbage bags borne down the aisle by a steward to collect travel debris.

Fewer, Bigger, Bolder  "...faculty members advise mindful growth on the path to enlightened profitability."

Never Be Closing: How to Sell Better Without Screwing Your Clients, Your Colleagues, or Yourself
Everyone knows that the first rule of sales is “always be closing.” But what if the less time you spend trying to close, the more time you can devote to helping people solve problems and seize opportunities? And what if following the new rule of sales, “always be useful,” results in more business?

Foreign Policy journal: "America in Crisis..."

Positive Intelligence" is the practice of achieving stress-free peak performance and is scientifically proven to be the greatest predictor of achievement."

Walk Away Wealthy: The Entrepreneur's Exit-Planning Playbook. "The essential guide to selling your business--and walking away with maximum wealth."

Dream Year: Make the Leap from a Job You Hate to a Life You Love
“Some people are content to help fulfill the dreams of their employers. But my guess is you’re not one of them. You were born with a dream of your own. And this year, you’re doing something about it.”

The Mobile Mind Shift : "...the expectation that I can get what I want in my immediate context and moments of need" 

Support and Defend by Tom Clancy;
Mastering the Complex Sale
- "How to Compete and Win When the Stakes are High! Set Yourself Apart – Become a Valued Resource."

SUCCESS magazine - cover
"Jimmy Kimmel "The surprising fear that drives the famous funnyman"
"8 Ways to Live a More Joyful Life"
"Secrets of Teams that WIN"
"What does your business card say about you?"
"Positive Leadership: 7 Pages of Best Practices"

Assorted magazine covers: 
Kim Kardashian "Raising My Princess" and "Kim's Fake Marriage EXPOSED!"
"Mila's Dramatic Delivery"
Cosmo's "Best Sex Ever"

(All photos by Susan Galleymore)

What can I say other than, "Yikes!" 

Check out other entries in the new series, Forays into US Culture
Foray into UC Culture: Rush on Robin
Foray into US Culture: Hillary Clinton, "It Takes a Pillage to Raze a Child..."
Forays into US Culture: Relax in a Hurry
Forays into US Culture: Downloadable Books...and Other Dystopias
Foray into US Culture: Manicured Faux

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