Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sometimes We Surprise Ourselves

Black Book, Yellow Flower, Gray Day, 2014

I was first drawn to Asunder by Shari's photograph of its cover, then by its author's Ph.D. in nineteenth-century French poetry and magic shows from Oxford, but now (p.16) I am most captivated by the characters and the writing.

He still occasionally dreamt of finding someone but over time had started to feel like the last remaining individual of a species, he said, a highly evolved bird with a highly evolved cry, his song unheard since he never shared it with anyone, and he'd started to wonder whether perhaps the right female for him had become extinct, preceding him by days, decades or centuries; anything was possible, a tragic error in chronology or biodiversity.
Chloe Aridjis, Asunder

Shari has introduced me to many books. One interesting tidbit I learned during her book series was that someone had begun reading novels on her iPhone. I found this so intriguing. I've experimented with reading a book on an iPad but didn't love it. I still read my novels in regular old physical form, but I believe I am becoming part of a smaller and smaller minority, and I'm okay with this shift. I used to believe I'd never use a digital camera and now I take all of my photographs with a phone. Never say never.

It is the reading that I find most important, the stories, not simply the physical book. I do own an iPhone now and use it more and more, and I certainly do a lot of reading on my laptop, just not novels, yet. I adore traditional books and find it difficult to imagine a world without bookstores and libraries filled with such books, but who knows how I'll be reading my novels next year. Our world changes. Sometimes we surprise ourselves. How do you read your novels?

22 comments:

  1. This is something I've been thinking about lots recently. Still books - always books. But I always hold out right until the end. I'm starting to feel that maybe I'm just being stubborn.

    I'm still on my *first* ever mobile/cell phone - kinda still going strong after 12 years, but all the numbers have rubbed off & it doesn't have a camera (just realised how old this makes it sound - phones don't even have numbers now!). Anyway, if I thought that I could squeeze in a bit more reading time on a phone that might be enough to make me make the leap into the present!

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    1. I believe that was one of Lisa's reasons for reading on her phone, the ability to read more often. It makes sense. There is a part of me that leans toward a slim paperback over a grand hardcover, knowing I'll be toting the book all over the city.

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  2. I prefer a book in my hands. The tangibility of it feels good. Sometimes I'll even print out New York Times articles to read on paper. I must admit though, I love the ease of an ipad/iphone when traveling for reading, but yet I still find myself stashing a book in my bag just the same.

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    1. I usually carry a stack of books (usually paperback) when I travel, but I definitely see the practicality of having that stack consolidated into one small device. A lighter suitcase is almost always a good thing. Sometimes I take the chance of finding books once I reach my destination, a challenge when traveling to a country where most books are not in my language. I remember finding Chronicle of a Death Foretold (in English) this way, on a little island in Italy. A pleasant surprise.

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  3. :) glad you are enjoying asunder. it's beautifully written and a little quirky, too. as you know, i love a physical book. just this week, though, i downloaded a book onto my laptop using google play. i don't own an iPad/iPhone or a reader so it was appealing that i could download a book onto my laptop without purchasing a device. it's a non-fiction book and to be honest, i'm not sure i could envision reading a novel on my laptop. still, i surprised myself this week, and i'm going to try a novel just to see but i think i'll always prefer the real deal.

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    1. Thanks for the intro to Asunder, Shari. Another cool aspect of an ebook is searchability. I haven't made use of this aspect, but I could see it being helpful, on occasion, when furiously turning pages to find a certain passage. But honestly, I might miss the old-fashioned page turning search.

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  4. I prefer books in paper format - just because then I dont need to bring another charger in my suitcase (Yes, because I almost only read paper books while traveling).

    If I were to read it on screen I think I would choose a kindle with a matt, paper like screen. The kind of screen that most resambles paper and that are more relaxing to the eye.

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    1. I travel with paper. The more I think about it the less I want to change.

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  5. I can't even read ezines, make me crazy, need to turn pages.

    And books, I read in the bathtub, makes for a slightly damp book at times, but better than a Kindle I bet.

    I just started watching House Of Cards on my PC tho and am hooked on lying in bed, knees up, cats sprawled everywhere sleeping or fighting while I indulge in the world of politics, so who knows...

    XO J ( SORRY GUS HAS HEAD ON KEYBOARD)

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    1. Some tradition mixed with a little new technology. And a lot of Gus. ; )

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  6. Asunder looks and sounds interesting.

    My guess is approximately 60% of books I buy now are physical, put them on the bedside table books. The rest I read on Kindle. That proportion has shifted dramatically in the last year. I've done lots of middle of the night buying (and traveling, for which virtual books are so convenient). Also, if it was the kind of book I thought I might read again I would always buy the "real" kind. Now I am trying to think of my Kindle more like a library or shelves filled with books, although I miss not looking at the covers. I don't have an iphone yet, but my son, who lives in NYC loves to be able to read his books on the subway. Also, in a small apt. they don't have as much room for books.

    Sorry for the long comment!
    Jen

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    1. Good point. eBooks (and libraries) can be an answer to space issues. I've always read regular old books on public transportation, but I suppose if one were reading something hefty like 1Q84, an electronic version would be more practical. Your night buying and travel also have me thinking about how nice access to eBooks would be if one lived in a rural area without a bookstore or library. No worries, I like long comments.

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  7. Oh, does this book sound lovely! That passage is stunning, and I am eager to read more. This one will be going on my "to read" list for sure. Thank you for sharing!

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  8. I am still reading my novels in the old school way, and am relying more and more on the library. But I can foresee a time when I will make the switch. Maybe not all the way to an electronic device, though.

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    1. Hi Nancy. Mostly old school and library for me too. I've been happy this way for a long time.

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  9. Just like you, I need to feel the pages. I love the smell of a new book, an old book. I don't see myself making the shift to a 'digital novel'; not yet. But yes, I agree - it's finally the stories that matter. So, whatever works.

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    1. I do like reading your stories on my laptop, Pia.

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  10. I like to have a real book in my hands, to know how much of the story is before me, all the tension of an ending when just a few pages are left. The cover matters for me, I don't want it to be ugly. (My professional work was as an illustrator so I've painted a number of covers.) BUT, on holidays I take a kindle, safe in the knowledge that I have masses of reading material without any weight.

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    1. Good points about the pros of physical and electronic books. I still lug physical books when I travel. Maybe that will change one day.

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  11. I've read somewhere that in order to encourage reading in children, they need to fall in love with a book as an object first (even when they still want to put it in their mouths instead of actually looking at it). A favourite story or book is something that they can hold and cherish. Books allow us to run our fingers over their surface, the story just under our finger tips. I think both those points say something about the benefits of stories having a more physical form.

    Although, I've read a couple of books on an eReader (although never in the bath!) and there is a level convenience that is hard to match, especially if you want to read a particular book NOW or if you want to get hold of foreign language books. =)

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    1. I do recall feeling very attached to my copy of The Poky Little Puppy. The NOW aspect you mention makes sense, but I have not yet found myself in a position where a bookstore or library hasn't filled that need. I live in a city with a good amount of available books. If I were rural, it would not be as easy.

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