I have decided to take a five-month break from politics.
To some extent, I have Steve Jobs to thank for this decision. Apple’s handing down of its new tablet on Wednesday has turned the eBook space white hot. The iPad will have a new iBooks app, a direct attack on the Kindle’s dominance of eBooks. I’m not saying the Future of Reading is more important than the future of civil political discourse in America, but for the next six months I’m going to focus on the former and let the latter lurch along without me. My weekly Kindle Chronicles podcast just passed the 2,000 mark in Feedburner subscribers, and my new companion podcast, The Reading Edge, offers a great way for me to further explore the eBook Revolution. This is shaping up to be a truly amazing year for anyone as passionate about literature and technology as I am.
I don’t have a precise definition of political sobriety, but I have taken actual steps to reduce my intake of political news and commentary. I turned off my Google Reader feed and created a brand-new one that, so far, contains nothing but eBook blogs and news. No more Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish or Mike Allen’s Politico Playbook, no more deep political reads in The New Yorker or political podcasts. (One reason I am including these links is that I may need them to find my way back to political immersion on the Fourth of July.)
There is no way to avoid political news completely. I have resolved to continue watching the President’s weekly address, and to finish Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue, an experiment in reading a nook and remaining open to a cultural phenomenon that is as opaque to me as professional sports. I have a hunch that an open mind is my only hope for an old age that works. It’s the daily drip of savvy, deconstructive political reporting and toxic partisan bickering from which I take this sabbatical.
On Independence Day we will be in Maine again. I hope I will return to the fray refreshed by being away for a while, and that The Kindle Chronicles and The Reading Edge will benefit from 153 days of renewed attention and work.