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  • Writer's pictureJason Haskins

August, and running

A book shelf filled with books and collectibles

"A book has got smell. A new book smells great. An old book smells even better. An old book smells like ancient Egypt." - Ray Bradbury

Over the winter, going through boxes in the garage of my childhood home, I discovered a couple of old books tucked away. The spines were a little wobbly, the pages stained a light brown but otherwise in good condition. And, without sticking my nose directly on the covers, an odor emitted.

The smell took me back. After all these years of being packed away, nearly 30, the books smelled of the stale cigarette smoke that lingered in my grandparents' house. This, plus the musty smell most old books have, brought a smile to my face.

There remains a magic to reading a physical book. The feel. The smell. The routine. Even here in 2023, with the advances in media and the way we consume novels, news, stories, and more, I still appreciate the act of picking up a physical book.

So much, in fact, I rarely listen to an audio book or read an e-book.

Not that I have anything against people who do. These aspects open up literature, non-fiction, and beyond to so many people. I have tried to expand my horizons but there remains a joy in flipping the pages and imagining the hands who have touched a book over the years (or, with a brand-new book, imagining what the future journey may hold once it leaves my hands).

E-books even provided an outlet to self-publish my first book, The Dragon Princess. And the same with the ensuing three books, too, plus the opportunity in recent years to include offering them in paperback and hard cover form.

Audio books, well, I tried but often found myself distracted. There are people I know who are able to listen to books and multi-task but I often lost track of what I was listening to. So much that I failed to find myself fully immersed in the story.

A book in my hands is the way I continue to read. I might be missing out on some great stories, in some instances. And I am glad these options are available to the public. Because a public who reads is a public who grows.

And that's a pretty important thing to embrace.

Writing updates

One piece of big news to share in this month's writing update front. After eight plus years, I am no longer writing for Chowder and Champions. Early in July, FanSided made the decision to no longer use contributors for that site, so all (and site editors) were let go, as it were.

We were all given the opportunity to find another site to write for within the FanSided universe. Many have done so but I ultimately decided to write for myself on my own platforms for the foreseeable future.

What does that mean? Well, you can still find stuff regarding the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, and Boston College Eagles over on The Journey of Now. Already started, plus a few items about the women's World Cup.

Work also continues on a new novella, play, and screenplay. Also am rolling along with Through the End of Time, a novel I've been working on for ages and have seen good progress on this year.

What I'm watching

I have failed. Two weekends in, and I have yet to see Barbie or Oppenheimer. But I hope to remedy that soon.

In fact, it was a somewhat quiet month of July for watching films. I finally settled in for Cocaine Bear, a funny little romp. Maybe it is because Elizabeth Banks directed it but portions of the film made me think of Wet Hot American Summer. In the way that Cocaine Bear teetered on the brink of being a spoof without being a spoof.

Also watched The Murder of Fred Hampton and settled in for more nostalgia with 1981's Clash of the Titans (a film, funny enough, I use to watch a lot as a kid while visiting the same grandparents spoken of above).

On the television side of things, I've been savoring the second season of The Bear. I am caught up through episode six; an episode on par in quality with most Succession episodes from the final season.

A sampling of others:

  • The Walking Dead: Dead City (AMC)

  • I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson (Netflix)

  • Atlanta (Hulu)

  • Weeds (Peacock)

  • Veep (Max)

  • The Righteous Gemstones (Max)

Additionally, I am looking forward to the third (and final) season of Reservation Dogs, which had its first two episodes drop on Hulu on August 2. Maybe it's just me but I saw absolutely zero advertising for this final season, which is an egregious error. The show is fantastic.

What I'm reading

A mix of plays and books were on the agenda in July. And I've currently moved onto the classic David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, so we'll see what I can accomplish in August.

  • The Kingdoms of Savannah: A Novel by George Dawes Green

  • The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window by Lorraine Hansberry

  • Alabaster by Audrey Cefaly

  • Duck, Duck Goose by Caitriona Daly

The interesting world

- Author Tod Goldberg (Gangsterland: A novel) compiled a list of the 75 most essential books for Gen Xers

- Love the Wilhelm Scream? Well, the original recording session was rediscovered.

- Theaters have been closing (a shame) across the United States. This article talks about the 'Brutal Calculus' of Chicago storefront theatres.

- The Writers Guild and Screen Actors Guild continue to strike until better working conditions, contracts, health plans, protections against AI, and more can be secured. Joseph Gordon-Levitt discusses AI and residuals in an MSNBC interview and an op-ed for the Washington Post.

Thanks for stopping by this month. Be bold. Be kind.

55 views2 comments


Aug 03, 2023

Still haven't watched The Bear, but it's been the big topic of conversation with clients this week, so it's on the list.

That you're reading Dickens is interesting, because I made a note to myself to reread him. I was obsessed in 5th-7th grades, but I know reading them as a kid pulled a very different story from the pages.

Here's to us finally finishing books we've worked on for ages! 🤞🏼

~ GiGi

Aug 04, 2023
Replying to

Yes! Here's to finishing those books! I actively avoided Dickens when I was younger. Ha! But, I have tried to make it a point to read a couple of classics a year and he's been topping the list. "Great Expectations" was the most recent prior to Copperfield. And I read "A Christmas Carol" every year at Christmas.

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