Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Anonymous, I, pod, and ipad



A while back I wrote a post about taking books on vacation and implied, with a somewhat superior tone, that reading books in paper form was better than reading books electronically.  An anonymous reader responded:

 "Meh--sort of a silly distinction. The thing worth being snooty about is whether someone reads or not, and what.

If someone reads Portrait of a Lady, I'm going to be impressed. i don't care whether it was on paper, a Kindle, or written in wet sand with a stick."

I really like my ipad.  I can't say I love it, because if it went away I would be over it in about 48 hours, but I really like it.  It's handy.  But, at the time of the original paper/pad post, I hadn't read a book on it.  So I did.  In fact, I've read two.  I've read Game Change and Bossypants.  My original sense of what I would want to read electronically held up.  There are some books that I a) want to read, b) don't want to keep, and c) don't want to wait for a the library.  

There are some annoyances.  I have the original ipad and, and I know this seems unlikely, it's heavy.  It's heavy like War and Peace even when you're reading Bossypants.  Also, you basically have to sit up.  Not lean to or lie* on one side, because the text stays upright.  (Maybe there is a way to correct this that I don't know.)  I did read on it outside and the sunlight/glare thing did not affect me.

At the same time I was reading Game Change I was reading A Passage to India.  You will find my copy still on my bedside table with a couple of pages turned down.  (I don't underline as I have a silly schoolgirl aversion to writing in books.)  And, I will go back to these a couple of times before I put it on a shelf.  You can highlight passages in the ipad, but I feel quite sure that I will never look at them again.  

While reading Bossypants, Tina Fey mentions David Foster Wallace, and this is maybe the fifteenth time the universe has presented me with this author, whom I think I want to read.  It was incredibly easy on the ipad to click over and preview his books, read reviews and buy.  Still, I didn't.  I had a feeling that I would want to maybe turn down a page or two.  Put it on the shelf.  Paper isn't necessarily better, but for me, it's different.

And, by the way, reading Portrait of a Lady in any form isn't all that impressive to me.  Mill on the Floss?  The Tin Drum?  Yeah, those you can be snooty about.

*I have to look up the lie/lay thing every single time.  For whatever reason, my brain does not retain number facts in any form or this rule of usage.

17 comments:

Todd the Bruce said...

The Cowboy Junkies have a great album called "Lay It Down." I'm good with names, so this is how I remember the rule.

Marisa/Stylebeat said...

I know, I keep hearing about David Foster Wallace too but have not gone and read his work. I think I may need to to be culturally aware! I love my new ipad and cannot wait to start reading books on it.

Stephanie said...

Love this post. I prefer paper, too. Although I enjoy my Kindle for many reasons. P.S. I remember the lay/lie thing like this: Bob Dylan, in all his infinite wisdom, messed this one up. Should have been Lie Lady Lie. Lay needs an object (like a chicken lays an egg). Hope this helps!

Karena said...

I have to admit I would love an I Pad or Kindle for those certain occasions when it is convenient.

I always love the feel of the paper in a book or magazine though....

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

Come and enter my New Giveaway from Serena & Lily! You will love it!

Brandon @ Southgate said...

my better half recently came home with an iPad for me. I think Ill use it as you have--for books that I want to read but dont necessarily want to keep in my already too-full library.

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

P-


The key point is to READ!
Read avidly.
Read with discrimination.
Read with appreciation for the writer, ideas, imagination, inspiration, the time, the words, the creation.
Read the best books you can find. Don't waste time with mediocrity.
Keep a list of books you'd like to read.
Keep books for the pleasure of them--and the hope to read them at the perfect moment.
On paper, online, on Kindles and iPads and any other medium...it's all good.
cheers, DIANE
www.thestylesaloniste.com/

balsamfir said...

Guilty confession of a book junkie: I've been thinking about the new lightweight kindle(cheap) to read silly books (those mysteries that put me to sleep at night) on, since I'm running out of shelf room, and my design book addiction is demanding that other things go...

The French Tangerine said...

I was a complete book snob until I got an i-Pad for Mother's Day. My husband had it engraved with "The French Tangerine" and it's my new best friend. I am planning to finish the book I've already started in paper, Madame Tussaud, on the i-Pad. It's a huge book and I get arm and hand aches while trying to read it in bed. I think I read faster on the i-Pad too... I'm sure it's my imagination, but I would swear I'm turning those electronic pages faster.
Love

ROK said...

I'm with you on Portrait of a Lady. In fact, this post has made me think that the iPad may be an appropriate place to read James in general. And I'm with you on your impressive selections.

Liz said...

Re: DFW, people seem to gravitate either to his fiction or his nonfiction. His novel Infinite Jest is maybe 2 or 3x as long as Passage to India, and filled to the brim with footnotes. Some genius made an app for the book with hyperlinked footnotes to spare those among us with delicate wrists, so it's probably a good choice for the iPad. I am in the DFW nonfiction camp, though, especially Consider the Lobster.

Jean Martha said...

I work in publishing. I love paper. LOVE. I find no romance or joy in reading on a tablet.

mary said...

I love to hold real books and smell the paper, but I have been sent a couple PDF books and they weren't bad (thank goodness my Amazon copies arrived in 2.5 days). But you have convinced me that I NEED a Ipad--a new light weight one. Have a great wee! Mary

design elements said...

love love paper! it was a delight to read this post, Mrs. B...

BERYN HAMMIL said...

There are lots of things the iPad as an e-reader can do in addition to all the other things it does. Once you've learned how to lock orientation, change font size, screen brightness, etc., it's a life-saver for reading in bed at night without disturbing the person next to you.

If you'd like to learn more about how to use this amazing device, I encourage you to read my Design Tech Tonics blog; lots of tips, tricks and app information there. It's tech information for non-techies like ourselves. http://designtechtonics.biz

ralph and martha said...

I read. everything I get my hands on. via any mode. I must say my favs are my Kindle and paper. I find I read WAY more since I got my Kindle. I even feel it inspires me to read more on paper as well, although I didn't expect that. I have an I Pad, but the Kindle is better. The no-glare screen is amazing, even on the beach! and the it's so light weight.

margaret said...

Attention Mrs Blandings... double click the button on your ipad. A pop up will appear on the bottom of the screen, swipe it all the way to the left and a grey/black symbol will appear. Tap on that symbol and it will lock your screen in place. You will then be able to read upside down sideways or any old ways!
I am afraid my ipad has become an extension of my brain attached to my hand!

Cheryl said...

I got a Kindle as a Christmas gift and gamely made an effort to use it, starting with reading "Can't Buy Me Love" by Jonathan Gould. Fabulous book--I couldn't put it down and found reading on the Kindle to be very easy. And yet...

Try as I might, I can't get past my preference for books on paper! If I can't see the book, I'm unlikely to go back to it. If I can't feel the book, I can't bear to spend money on it. If I want to read it but not own it, I get it at the library instead.

Books are so precious to me--I like seeing them on the shelf like friends I can reconnect with at will. I happily embrace other technologies, but as far as books go I guess I'm a traditionalist.