Hamilton Visits and Charms

I was dubious. The hype has been relentless ever since last spring when the touring Broadway show lineup was announced and Hamilton was among the fare. I mean, I liked the idea of a musical couched in an historical backdrop, but hip hop?

Yep. Showing my age. I am mostly a consumer of classical and jazz music and cringe every time I am at a stop light next to a car with hip hop screaming out its open windows.

I was, simply put, not a fan, until last night.

And now I get it. I get the hoopla and the hype and everything in between because this show is a cultural phenomenon, bringing together races, religions, and generations into toe tapping, head bobbing, and occasional tear-dropping magic.

If you can, try your very best to find a ticket. Join the HamFam and be transported into a fantasy where history meets hiphop.

E-book or Paper Book: Which is the Best for You?

By the Numbers

 According to the respected Pew Research Center, print books remain the most popular reading medium with 67 percent of Americans having read at least one paper book in the last year. Of these, 39 percent will only read paper books while 29 percent read in both paper and e-book formats, with just 7 percent reading only e-books. The numbers are couched in the fact that the average American reads 12 books/year. Age is also a factor with 10 percent of those aged 18 to 29 reading only e-books compared to 5 percent of those ages 50 – 64.

As for devices, it’s either paper back or hardcover for paper books, while e-readers have expanded their reading devices to include smart phones, tablets, and even audio formats.

Regardless of which format you prefer, there are advantages and disadvantages to each.

The mind slows when reading print allowing for deeper critical thinking

According to an article in the Huffington Post, there are 10 reasons why print is better that e-books.

Why Print is Better

  1. Reading print books is a tactile activity that offers pleasurable experiences for the senses of smell, touch, and sight.
  2. Studies show that reading in print is better for retention. You may not remember all the clues and evidence in that mystery you are savoring read digitally.
  3. Books last decades longer than digital devices.
  4. Keeping old, treasured books around elicits memories, good and bad, of the time you read them.
  5. Giving a book  to a friend is a special gesture.
  6. You can underline, dog-ear, highlight, and write in the margins of a book – all cognition strengthening activities.
  7. The covers and jackets of books people read on a bus or subway can be a snapshot of a city’s culture.
  8. Books in print give writers higher royalties than their e-book versions.
  9. Books are soothing and healthier. Light-emitting e-books interfere with sleep and general health.
  10. Books are less likely to be stolen which is not true of an e-reading device.

On the Other Hand

10 reasons why e-books are better

  1. You can download them instantly without having to leave home.
  2. They are usually more portable.
  3. When borrowed from the library, there are no late fees for library e-books.
  4. They provide readers with built-in dictionaries.
  5. They don’t require bookcases for storage.
  6. You can set your preferred font size and style.
  7. It’s easier to find hard to find niche topics.
  8. They are more environmentally friendly (really?).
  9. You don’t need a reading light – they come with their own.
  10. They are usually cheaper than their paper book counterparts.

My Take

I am a ravenous hard-copy reader! That’s not to say I don’t read the occasional e-book (I do have a Kindle which I mainly use to play Words with Friends and watch Netflix movies). Ever since I was in grade school, I have smelled books and have been known to pick one title over another because it smelled better. No can do with an e-book. In the summer I love to take a good mystery to the beach or pool – can you see dropping the e-book device into the water or clogging its memory with sand? I do agree about the space issue, but I feel warm and cozy in my study which is lined with books, some even going back to those grade school days – and that’s a LONG time ago!

Anyway, whichever is your book media of choice, I wish you hours and hours of magic and memories from your treasured volume or screen.

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

It reads like a combined horror, suspense and true crime story, and that’s because it is all those things. Getting this book was totally random. I was surfing books on Amazon when I came across the thoroughly intriguing title, and when I saw its almost 5-star rating, it was a slam dunk order.

(Even though I have a Kindle, I still order most of my books in hard copy – its like the brick and mortar versus virtual classroom thing.)

Back to bleeding, er, uh Bad Blood.

Although the story is about a Silicon Valley start-up named Theranos, intrinsic to that is the story of its founder, a then 19-year-old Stanford University dropout named Elizabeth Holmes who eventually became the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire. Begun with her vision to make the world a better place, Elizabeth conceived of performing blood tests on people by drawing blood with a finger prick and running it through small, Theranos designed and built blood analyzers. However – there was a hitch–her system didn’t work.

Tests came back inaccurate and many were really run on the several traditional (big) analyzers the company had purchased from other manufacturers. People became panicked when results suggested imminent strokes and out-of-whack TSH values. Meanwhile, the more it didn’t work, the more Elizabeth explained things away with exaggerations that eventually segued into out-and-out lies.

Elizabeth is a striking woman whose idol was Steve Jobs of Apple. Her dream was to be the Steve Jobs of the medical world. She even emulated him in the way she dressed, with her black turtlenecks and slacks. One of her traits that startled many who met her was her voice.  Whether cultivated or natural, it was a deep, manly, baritone that didn’t pair with the blond, ruby-lipped stunner.

Elizabeth holding the small blood capsule

Elizabeth ran the company along with her live-in lover, Sunny Balwani. She had an amazing talent of attracting older, successful men to join her Board of Directors, including George Schultz, former U.S. Secretary of State and George Mattis, a former U.S. Secretary of Defense. Most of her board members were totally taken with this beautiful young woman with the deep voice who could spin yarns into amazing products that came unraveled before they were even real.

Sunny and Elizabeth ruled the company ruthlessly, never hesitating to fire someone on the spot, which they did with progressive frequency as employees began to realize they were partaking in what was soon to be deemed a fraud of major proportion.

Anyway, I have become obsessed with this story and its central figure, Elizabeth Holmes. Although technically a business-based story, this is really a read about an astonishing success story turned into ashes, overnight!

If you are looking for a great read of epic proportions, give Bad Blood a try.

Nick DiChario

Reader, writer, life-long mistake-maker

Judith Shenouda

Author of Living Well in Froggy's World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud; A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way; and Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal; and Owner of Shenouda Associates Inc., Provider of Technical, Marketing, and Business Communications

Motivation for better life.

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