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On middling (and Lord of the Rings):

Yes, Tolkien could've thwarted Evil in six emoji rather than a half-million words, but, that would've been a bad story.  Even if all of this stuff, this middling, is procedurally meaningless, it is the point of the epic. 

On value (and bookplates):

To put a bookplate in a book is therefore a great imbalance in the Force: a declaration that the book's personal relevance offsets - or trumps - all other values. I'm arbitrarily assigning a high value to the historical factor of my own ownership and, by acting on it, 'betting' that the increase of that value offsets the corresponding depreciation that results from putting a whopping big sticker in it

And on nothing in particular (or, more accurately, lots of little things):

Juicy new survey on American reading habits from YouGov. Not new news, but nor is it great news. Only about 40% of Americans read one book a month or more. Only 6% read a book each week. (That rises to 9% of women, 2% of men.) Oh, and hey, 2/3rds don't read for pleasure - meaning a large chunk of the reading that is happening is in the functional space (work, study, cookery, DIY...).

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