Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Bookin' It with Psychostick's Alex Dontre

The world's most insaney comedy metal band, Psychostick  has been releasing albums, their latest DO came out via their own damned selves this July.

They do it themselves because they exist on a level that your average A&R man cannot fathom. The band's pony tails are fake.

Just like theirs....

In the mean time, catch them on tour or stream their BANDCAMP.

But for now, let's find out about what they're reading over there in Chicagoland.

1. I try to read at least two books per month, and mostly fail, what's your goal and reality?

Two books per month is a great goal! Lately (for the past few years at least), I've been narrowing my objectives into subgoals to make them seem more manageable. 

Accordingly, I carve out time to read one chapter a day. For many books, that comes out to finishing one every 10-14 days, so roughly two per month. 

The critical piece of the puzzle is making reading a priority, just like eating, sleeping, and whatever else is important to me.

2. Encyclopedia Brown and Choose Your Own Adventure books were a big part of my childhood. What did you read back in Elementary School?

I have always been drawn to sci-fi novels, and a big part of my childhood involved anything composed by Michael Crichton. I was especially fascinated by Sphere and its implications with consciousness and intelligent beings beyond our understanding. 

Prey was also particularly interesting to me because it discussed technology as a potential problem, which I don't believe I had ever considered before. 

3. It's no secret that I think Harry Potter is an amazing saga, but it wasn't until after the movie for Chamber of Secrets was released that I began reading the books. What was the big thing you were late on?

I never read the Harry Potter books, but I believe you! As for sagas, I would again mention my affinity for science fiction. In particular, Robert Charles Wilson's Spin trilogy really captured my attention. 

It was a few years after it was released (and won the Hugo award), but that first book especially floored me. The concept behind...ugh, I can't bring myself to discuss it and badger your readers with spoilers. 

I'll just put it this way: I have read the trilogy twice now, and I will probably revisit it again soon.

4. My local library is amazing and I'm there pretty frequently. What do you like about your library?

I actually don't borrow books from the library much any more. I did when I was a kid because it was strongly encouraged, which most certainly helped me build good reading habits. However, after studying the psychological concept known as the endowment effect, I strictly read books that I have purchased. 

Basically, the endowment effect goes like this: we value things more when they come into our possession. A book that I purchase will be more valuable to me than a book that I borrow and have to return. Additionally, I often feel the same way about being gifted books. It is a wonderful thought, but it isn't very conducive with psychological tendencies. 

That said, libraries and absolutely wonderful for studying. I frequented them almost daily while working toward my master's.

5. Comic Books. Which ones are you reading?

I can't say I'm a comic book reader at all. Well, unless Calvin and Hobbes counts. 

6. What author can you just read again and again?

I really had to narrow this one down to answer it succinctly. For fiction, Lois Lowry's, The Giver was monumental to me, and I have read that books probably half a dozen times. 

For non-fiction, I would have to go with the man who interested me in science in the first place, Stephen Hawking. I read A Brief History of Time and struggled with a lot of it, but it certainly lit a spark in my curiosity. 

Then after reading Universe in a Nutshell, I was absolutely floored. Hawking's writing style is masterful in a unique way. Every sentence, paragraph, and passage is important due to the succinct nature of his writing (due to his extremely limited mobility). 

Additionally, the concepts are challenging enough to warrant repeated visitations with a new outlook on the material each time. In fact, I believe it is about time to revisit his work again soon. I am excited to see if I understand it somewhat better this time around.  

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