Tuesday, October 23, 2012

You can have your Kindle or iPad, let me have my solid books

"Paper textbooks can be stored and easily referenced on a shelf. Data are as easy to retrieve from paper as reaching across your desk for a textbook. They are easy to read and don’t require a battery or plug. Though the iPad and e-readers have increasingly better screen clarity, the idea that every time a person reads a book, newspaper or magazine in the near future they will require an energy source is frightening.

"The digitization of information offers important benefits, including instant transmission, easy searchability and broad distribution. But before we shred the last of the paper textbooks, let us pause and remember those old streetcars, and how great it would be if we still had them around."--Justin B. Hollander, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/10/opinion/long-live-paper.html
From Capote to Lewycka, books/authors I read in the past weeks. Elizabeth Strout's novel is in the current reading list along with the pseudonymous Emma Larkin's Finding George Orwell in Burma.
I know a guy who said his temperament and reading habits keep him from making the switch from books the way we know it to e-books. He said a contraption like a Kindle would be easily crushed in his hands because when he wades into the words strung together by writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, he gets so carried away, he is swept with reverential ardor at the writer's genius that he feels less than human. His usual reaction is to hurl the book across the room with a loud, "Bakit ka ganyan kagaling?"

Apart from the fact that he loves sleeping with books, leaving them open and straining the binding and not inserting a bookmark on the page where he paused.

Another girlfriend, this time a woman and a professor of literature, likes to sniff and smell a book as she cracks it open. New book, secondhand book, remaindered book, library book--all these have to pass by her nostrils before her eyes even begin to devour the words.

I know these may be weak arguments against the seemingly inescapable switch to digitized books. I know that those computer geeks will be able to add apps on the Kindle or iPad where you can do the highlighting on striking passages/quotations the way I do with my highlighter pens (annoying to my partner--he says I not only dirty but desecrate books that way).

Same partner, a journalist for nearly four decades, also likes to say that newspapers as he knows them won't totally disappear or transmogrify fully into online editions (so long, newsprint, alas, I knew your ink stain well) in his lifetime. I figure that he will live 25 years more if he takes care of his genetically inherited diabetes and his stress-related other pains, but with Newsweek's demise and cutdowns/shutdowns in revered papers, things are happening faster than he had hoped for. No wonder there is a famed communication blogger named the Newsosaur to lament the passing of an era.

Or maybe you can just call me and my friends old-fashioned not in the fuddy-duddy sense but like...uhm...classics!
Lullabye for Booboo: I didn't realize until I began reading these board books that I bought last week for Kai, my grand-daughter, that they were all bedside reading. I've had them by my side the past few nights and put myself to sleep reading them over and over again. It helps to have a teddy bear by my side.
"Where did this kind of reader go? You know part of the answer, since you are reading this on the Web. The voice of an Authority got displaced by the recommendations and likes of your Friends, a trend that began before Facebook came along but was accelerated by its explosive growth. I’d argue that the decline of the well-paid, medium-skilled job and the diminishing fortunes of the middle class also took its toll; it is hard to care about what makes Goya great if you are reduced to eating Goya beans five times a week.

"Three decades ago, studies of Time readers showed many cited that their primary reason for subscribing was to make them feel less anxious at social events; armed with facts and opinions, these readers could talk with confidence about something other than the weather. It would be too glib to say that nowadays that anxious partygoer has Xanax to rely on, but it is painfully true that not only do facts and opinions rain down on us from everywhere, but, depending on your political leanings, you can pick the facts you like from the news outlets that agree with you. Suddenly, talking about the weather while clinking ice cubes doesn’t seem so bad."--Jim Kelly, http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2012/10/shock-news-magazine-death-tina-brown-robert-hughes

Photos by Babeth Lolarga
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