11 October, 2002

Books: A Man's Best Friend

I spent all day working on my website today. It's still not where I'd like it to be, but it's steadily getting there.

Well, midterms are now officially over, and I don't have to go back to school until Wednesday rolls around. This fact makes me smile, as that means this weekend I will likely be able to finally fix up my apartment just the way I like it.


I love to read, and it shows. Besides an increased vocabulary, my love of reading has transformed one of my rooms into an immense library, and it is filled to the brim with books of every genre. Most of the books I own have been read multiple times, and they are all among my favorites. If I had more money, I'd buy even more -- but I could never buy all of the books that I desire. In fact, the one place I visit more often than any other is Barnes & Noble... I rarely buy from them, but I often spend my off days there reading in one of the corners of the store. I also go to the library near-religiously. Every three weeks I pick out a dozen or so books that I've yet to read, and although half of them usually turn out to be boring, I find quite a few gems every once in a while.


Have you ever read Flatland, by Edwin Abbott Abbott? It is a classic fiction written to illustrate the very realistic idea of dimensional theory. Abbott portrays a two-dimensional planar world inhabited by regular geometric figures such a squares, triangles, and pentagons. The main character, a square, happens across two worlds very different from his own; the first is a one-dimensional linear world inhabited only by line segments and the second is the three-dimensional world that you and I live in. The story very clearly demonstrates the possibilities of higher dimensions in a way that even a schoolchild would understand and enjoy.

I first read this story while I was in the ninth grade, and it was eye-opening to me at that age. Up to that point, I had never truly considered the idea of higher dimensional phenomena... But after reading Flatland, my mind was ripe for imaginative thoughts on the subject. A few days after completing the book, I was still contemplating the complexities of the situation, and one thing in specific happened that I recall even to this day.

I was standing at the very end of the lunch line in the cafeteria at my school. I was the absolute last person in line because I was slow in walking to the lunch room that day. The whole time I had been thinking about the ramifications of higher dimensional theory, but I had never really grasped the idea completely. As I walked through the line, I continued my thoughts and placed food onto my plate. However, because I was thinking so very hard, I accidentally dropped a tater tot (piece of fried diced potato) onto the floor. Distractededly, I leaned down to retrieve the tater tot, intending on transferring it to the trash can near by. However, as I knelt, an image formed in my mind. I imagined the idea of looking at the tater tot before me in a higher dimension.

I imagined that somehow I could see the other side of the tater tot -- the side touching the floor. But not in lieu of the side that was facing me; instead, I imagined seeing all of the outside of the tater tot at once. In my mind, the tater tot had been flattened, so that I could see both sides. But I didn't stop there.

Supposedly, there is a way of viewing the inside of the tater tot while still seeing all of the outside, and so I tried imagining that, as hard as it sounds. And to take it a step further, my mind went on to imagine that in order to accomplish this, I didn't need to break the skin of the tater tot, or flatten it or even turn it around. All I needed to do was look at it from a direction that is perpendicular to the three standard direction of north/south, east/west, and up/down. All I had to do was look in the ana/kata direction, and I would be able to see all of the tater tot -- all of the tater tot -- at once. It was then that I finally got what a higher dimension really meant.

I was so immersed in this thought that I was actually frozen there, kneeling on the cafeteria floor. Thankfully, I was spared from too much embarrassment because I was at the end of the line, but it was a very awkward moment when one of the lunch ladies broke me from my reverie and asked me if I was okay.


::sigh:: I am so very weird, aren't I? 

Peter David is an awesome writer. Though I am not into comics as much as other forms of literature, I have to admit that his comic book writing is absolutely wondeful. However, the reason I call him one of my favorite authors is because of his novels. They are quite simply the most involved novels I've ever read.

Sir Apropos Of Nothing is a fantasty novel starring a man who is exactly the opposite of most fairy tale novels. The humorous life that Sir Apropos leads is indicative of just how good a writer Mr. David actually is. This is especially true when you consider the style of novels that made Peter David one of my favorite authors...

Imzadi was a New York Times Bestseller. It is a ST:TNG novel that explores the romantic history between two of the major characters: Will Riker and Deanna Troi. It is the best romance novel I have ever read, and the feelings it conjures up each time I read it are so intense that at some points I am forced to put the book down while I try to calm myself and stop crying. I have reread the book so often that the cover is worn to mere pieces. There is no other book that has ever made me feel anything with such ferocity, and I can safely say that Imzadi is my favorite piece of literature of all genres, with but one exception.

My absolute favorite is The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand. Rand really makes you think.

I don't entirely agree with Rand's idealology. But the concept behind it is sound.

The Fountainhead is the best book I've ever read. But I do not reccommend to others that they should read this book... It is not the kind of book that you just pick up and read because you're bored and want a good book. No, Rand writes in such a way that reading her work is stressful... Not because it's hard to understand, but that the characters eat at your soul, tearing and rending it to pieces, revealing what you never saw before.

The first chapter seems innocent enough... In it, Rand writes beautifully, and she describes such wonderful scenery. But that is just the first time you read it.

I have read the book numerous times. And now, when I read the first chapter, I find myself crying before I'm through the second paragraph.

I cry because Roark is laughing... He is laughing, yet I could not. Were I Roark, I would not be able to laugh, but Roark... Roark laughs.

I cry because the rocks are so beautiful. I close my eyes and picture them just as Rand described them, and it is like I am looking at heavenly rocks. It is as though the rest of the world is nothing compared to these rocks I see before me...

I know that none of this makes sense to anyone out there reading this, but this is how I truly feel.

I am crying even now, just because I am typing of it.

::sigh:: I am so very pathetic. 

Why can't I just be normal?

And yet I would hate being normal... But then I think to myself, "Anything is better than this. Anything."

My previous diary entry has a note on it saying I should become friends with someone far away that I can talk to online. In her very diary, she even talks of this as a good thing. She seems to be glad to have a friend online that she can talk to when she is too closed to let anyone else near her know her true self.

I, too, am closed. But I'm so willing to be open, if but anyone were there to be open to...

But I am too picky.

Mary is too... normal.

Sure, she's a great person and all, but...

I mean, she's intelligent, beautiful, and very nice. But she is not the kind of person I want to talk to.

Why is that? What fault could I possibly find in her? What is it that makes me not like her?

I honestly don't know.

The problem is compounded if I befriend someone far away. How am I to know them if I cannot even see them? How do I know they are real?

I don't even know if I'm real anymore.


But perhaps she is right. Perhaps I should make a friend far away from me, where our two lives will never intermix.

Maybe then I might be happy.

You never know till you try, right?


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