masqthephlsphr: (books)
I haven't been much for posting lately, mostly due to busy-ness (work, my novel, my new writing class). But I have been reading on line. And I've noticed a trend lately of dissing e-books in comparison to paper books.

I guess it's the inevitable backlash new technology always brings. In this case, the primary argument I've seen is the Rupert-Giles-esque claim that the visceral experience of holding a book, touching it, smelling it, turning pages, etc, provides a sensory context that allows for greater comprehension and retention of what one reads than with eBooks.

This may be so, I can't say without seeing the scientific evidence. But here's what I know:

(1) For a long time after I got my PhD, I wasn't much interesting in reading recreationally. "Reading burnout" was my excuse for a long time, until I realized it'd been years since I graduated. Then I had to face up to the fact that I just wasn't reading as much anymore. I felt guilty about that. Unintellectual.

My recreational reading has increased dramatically since I started reading eBooks. It's just more convenient. You can take all your books with you anywhere, and have a book on hand to read in the doctor's waiting room, or at work (while looking busy staring intently at the computer screen).

(2) I like being able to "un-highlight." Does this ever happen to anyone else: you're reading, you find a passage you want to remember, you highlight it, and on the next page, the author says the same thing even better, or in more detail, and you highlight that, too? Pretty soon, you're over-highlighted. It's good to be able to just have the parts you really want to return to marked. This goes for bookmarks, too (especially in recipe books).

And who knows? Maybe more precise highlighting leads to greater comprehension and retention.

(3) Reading paper books has become physically challenging for me. With a book-book, you usually are holding it in your lap, or on your knees, or on a table, and looking down. For extended periods of time. This hurts my neck something fierce. Or alternatively, you have to hold the book at or above your line of sight. Ditto, strain on the arms. I have looked into inventions that will hold a book up in your line of sight for you that don't hold the pages so tight you can't change them every minute or so, but such inventions don't work as well as devices that hold computers and tablets up in your line of sight.

I believe the physical ability to read a paper book is something that should be fought for with physical therapy and gumption. But in the meantime, my difficulties is what they is.

Sometimes, I don't have a choice but to read a paper book. Not everything is available in eBook format (like my current class textbook!) And certainly, I worry if I will still "have" my eBooks twenty years from now the way I have my old books from my younger years. What happens when the technology changes, as it will?

Today, though, I'm reading.
masqthephlsphr: (ex-philosophy prof - alliterator)
Latest book: The Echo Maker by Richard Powers

I enjoyed this book. If the goal was to bring me back to reading, and to feed my writing with eloquent words, then this book succeeded.

Spoilery for entire book )
masqthephlsphr: Halt and Catch Fire (girl geek)
Lately, I have been pondering ways to do more pleasure reading. As a kid, I always had a book on hand. I devoured them by the gross. In the years since grad school, however, I have found myself reading a lot less, and I know that is effecting my writing.

Okay, stop: just the fact that I am thinking about this in terms of how it "effects my writing" tells me I am not really framing this as "reading for pleasure," and that's one problem right there. Reading has become a means to an end, an obligation or chore, and that's not a great start.

Anyway, there is plenty of advice out there about how to "find more time" for reading (much less, however, on how to make it a pleasure again). The most relevant suggestions:

Computers are my problem )
masqthephlsphr: (a wizard named harry)
So I finally, finally finished the latest Dresden Files novel, Ghost Story. I think I am the last one on my flist to do so. Some folks gave it enthusiastic reviews, others were less than impressed. I have to admit to slogging through some tedium at times, which is part of the reason I took so long to finish it. The other part is, I only read non-interweb stuff for a short while before bed each night.

But see, there is a reason this book wasn't the Best!DresdenFilesNovel!Ever! It was a bridge story. And bridge stories are traditionally kind of mediocre. Thar be spoilers beyond here! )

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