Thursday, April 10, 2008

Books books books and reading

First of all, some entirely unrelated photos of me as a kid...





and my sister too....




I have been thinking more about the reading a book vs reading on line issue.

I think that there is no real difference between reading a magazine and reading on line, but I do think that a book provides both an opportunity for sustained attention and focus that simply does not exist on the web. I think it also provides a much greater depth of discourse than is typically available on line.

I do not mean to say that we cannot investigate things in depth on line, as clearly we can, but it tends to involve a skipping around from site to site in order to do so, along with a certain amount of waiting time as disparate sites post information. Again, this mimics a daily magazine format more than a book. On line information, as elPadawan so eloquently put it is infinitely more timely. I also find that I frequently am stirred to thoughtfulness much more often on line than in a book, depending of course on the book. This is partially a function of the fact that for the last five years or so, I have largely had to read what I can find to read, rather than what I would like to read, meaning that I very often am not compelled by it the way I am with information I search out on the net, and which I aggregate to my feeder.

The book, though, is not headed the way of the dinosaur. There is, without a doubt, the sensual and aesthetic aspects of reading a book. It is also simply unrivalled as a tool for focused in depth conversation and investigation. It also is just so nice. So nice to have a big fat story to thumb through, so nice to have a good meaty chunk of information to work your way around.

Some of the comments brought me to another topic. E-books and their , readers or better still a Kindle, which I am desperate to own. Are they good things or devil spawn? I have to confess, I am not sure they would ever equal a real book, though I LOVE nearly everything about a kindle...for me though, living expat with few opportunities to get books, magazines or newspapers, let me tell you. I would LOVE one of these. LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT. They are only available if you have a US bank account right now, boo hoo.

The idea of being able to access, read and carry about a shelf full of books that I CHOSE! Has me almost wilting with excitement. I wouldn't need it or want it in the US though. *sigh*

So yes, I think I would read off an electronic devise, here, now. I do prefer a paper book, they are just so d*mned hard to get, and so expensive.

I agree that web based reading is a different tool, a different system for accessing information, in different ways. It leads to unique experiences with the language, with the information, and I think, if used well, to very thought provoking interactions be they with timely and astringent or poignant commentary, a community of readers and writers, like this blogging community, or a dissemination of thought provoking information, opportunity and possibility.

Vive la diferencia! (what the heck mangled language mess is that?)

Visqui la diferencia! (there that was at least all Catalan)

and I really really want a Kindle, wonder if I can download the books from here???

9 comments:

elPadawan said...

awwww so cute! The sister shot is godzilla-like... :).

eloquent, am I? *blush*.

It seems that the Kindle only reads Amazon's proprietary format, though :/.

I think considering the situation, the guild of paper-book lovers might forgive you your craving for this gizmo :p. Why don't you try getting one off ebay?

and yes, even if I am fond of new media, good ole paper will always have its place in my heart... and shelf ;).

oreneta said...

elPadawan, I know it only reads Amazon stuff, but they have over 70,000 titles! The other thing to remember with the readers is that they have the potential to be fantastic for people with visual problems because you can enlarge the font size enormously, which means that people are not dependent on magnifying glasses and large print editions...

elPadawan said...

I will only consider buying one for myself when it will read open formats, and have an integrated perfume bottle, "old paper" flavored :D

Beth said...

THE LIPS!!!!!!! THE LIPS!!!!! Shiloh and Angelina got NOTHIN on you Rocky!!!!

oreneta said...

elPadawan, NOW I see why your a software designer...you've solved the next marketing niche crisis, the scent, and I might humbly add the feel, of the thing...if we could add that...MILLIONS!!!!

Bullwinkle, ah the cruel use of botox on the very young....

*kisses*

Beth said...

You were adorable! And so was your sister. (And you still are...)
I've read both good and bad reviews re: the Kindle but can see why you would want one.

oreneta said...

Beth I just lust over the list of books, the speed of download..the sheer range of choice.

*sigh*

dawn said...

Cute photos. I had seen one before and thought you resemble my sister when she was young. Looking at these photos, you look more like her daughter. I love old family photos. Thanks for sharing.

One the reading, this just popped into my head. Does a book of poetry or short stories fall in the category of magazines and on line reading and does reading a novel on line (albeit, waiting daily for the next excerpt) compare to reading a novel on paper? I have had the luxury of reading a book on line as the author is writing it. I caught up, then I keep up. She has giving me the first chapters of her book to read on paper, as well, so I read a lot of it twice. Because it was on paper and not in book form, it still felt different. For me, the place I read each is different. I read online in a chair in the office, I read a book or magazine in bed before sleeping or sitting in a comfy chair. I read the newspaper at the table usually with a cup of coffee. Each has it's extra elements involved as well.

oreneta said...

Dawn that is sooo true, there is a place and comfort to reading different things in different places, and reading a book on line as its written...what an honour...