I have no mantle, per se, but on the wall above the desk where I write is a pewter-framed black & white photo of a dear friend, now deceased, who inspired me very much. My brothers and I made flying ducks out of wood and metal in our wood shop class in junior high. Several of these ducks flew crookedly along our living room walls as I was growing up.
This isn’t original, but it is completely sincere: I love the Cathedral of the Madeline. The vaulting of the ceiling, the light through the stained glass, the eerie acoustics, they all create a feast for the senses. I love it so much I am almost tempted to take up regular church attendance. Almost.
Jaron Lanier’s You Are Not a Gadget. It’s a cautionary manifesto about the way Web 2.0 is transforming our lives for better and for the worse. Lanier is the guy who came up with the concept of “virtual reality,” and now he’s worried about what the Web is doing to society. The most memorable quote from the book (I mean so far, since I’m only halfway) is about FaceBook: “You have to be somebody before you can share yourself.”