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
. 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.