The Other Way To Read

I forgot how to read a real book. I am reading “The Other,” by David Guterson. I bought the real book, not the e-book book. (Thanks, Dad, for the bookstore gift certificate!)

And when I got to the end of an early chapter, I closed the book, and reminded myself to remember that I’d stopped there. On an e-book, there’s no need for book marks or reminders to yourself. The e-book remembers for you. You turn it on and voila, you’re right at your stopping-off point.

So back to my paperback book, a day later, I opened “The Other,” and started at Chapter 3 which seemed right, until the end of chapter. The narrator referred to a character as if I, the reader, should already know who she was. But I was yet to be introduced. Yes, I flipped back and realized I’d completely skipped Chapter 2.

I have become so used to reading on an e-book that I’ve lost my knack for reading a real book. It is taking me a moment to relearn, but I will get there. I’m smart like that.

Reading is one of my life rules, my routes to sanity — My Rule #2 is escape through literature.¬†http://mbcoudal.wordpress.com/2011/02/19/rule-2-escape-through-literature/

http://mbcoudal.wordpress.com/

Advertisements

Fondle My Kindle

With all the hype today about the iPad, the Apple tablet, I want to tell you about my love for my Kindle.

I’m on my second one because my first was stolen about a month ago at “Once Upon A Tart” in SoHo. Cute place, literary thief. Of course, I should never have left my purse hanging over the back of my chair.

Any way, about the Kindle, when you read on it, the words and meaning still penetrate, though perhaps not as deeply. But these days, who wants to go deep? Better that words, like ink, should float on the surface.

I wonder how writers will write differently knowing that a majority of their readers will be reading on an eBook.

I am always in the middle of writing a book. The heft, the immortality, the importance, the perfection, the editor who corrects my problems with sentence fragments and too many dashes — Brilliant!

I still want to write a book, but now I want to write an eBook.

I’m falling out of love with the printed word. It’s been a great ride, books, magazines, newspapers, but farewell. I’m moving on.

Except, of course, for longhand.¬†Every morning I still write my three pages, longhand. And after a couple of months, when the journal’s filled, I throw the journal up to the top shelf of my closet and then I duck. Because sometimes the journal doesn’t land on the shelf — but hits me on the back of my head and conks me out and I die (just kidding about the dying part!) But in all seriousness, notebooks falling from a few feet high can really hurt! Words can hurt, just so you know!

I wonder how my writing will be different if I writing my Great American Novel for the Kindle instead of for the hardcover, Booker Prize. (I may have to be English to be eligible for the Booker Prize, but I do love the name of that prize. What better name for a book prize than the Booker Prize?)

Writing for the web has changed my style — shorter, sassier, punchier at the beginning — more fragmented and boring the more you scroll down. Because, really, most people don’t read any more, they skim. And they don’t mind sentence fragments either. Not at all.

Another important question — what about the trees? All those books = all that paper = all those dead trees. Yes, the Kindle requires a little zap of electricity now and then and that can’t be good for the environment either.

Random question — Do words from the Kindle go to another part of the brain than printed words? Have scientists done those pretty fluorescent MRI scans — like a Peter Max poster — to show which areas of the brain light up when reading a book versus the areas lit when reading from a screen?

Random point — I love the feeling of reading the Kindle on the subway when people look at me enviously. (I should’ve known my first would get stolen.)

Some smart-looking guy on the subway invariably asks, “Is that a Kindle? I want one!” I gush, “Yes, look at how you can change the font size. Listen to this ‘text to speech’ feature. One of my nine-year olds is reading The Mysterious Benedict Society, and I’m reading — well, I do hate to admit it, “Dumas Key” by Stephen King. And I’ve downloaded “White Tiger.” And you can have like 200 books on the Kindle. And you don’t go by page numbers, you go by percentage read.” But by the time I’ve finished my little sales pitch, that handsome guy on the subway and I have both missed our stop at 116th Street. We’re too busy fondling my Kindle.

Okay, honestly? Most of the time, no one notices my Kindle. I get lost in reading. That’s why I miss my stop and land in Harlem at 125th Street. Because, hey, no matter the conduit, the story’s still the thing.

For they record, my Kindle wasn’t stolen in Harlem, it was SoHo.