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ande
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#14: Beam me up? Transporting books -- literally and figuratively

[ Edited ]

Book Explorers:

 

Sorry for my absence. I’ve had a case of the miseries. Did I hear a collective gasp? Not to worry. Nothing life threatening and I feel much better today. In fact, I have had so much sleep in the last week that I found myself wide awake at dawn this morning. There was only one thing to do: I took a trip to Japan –-- transported by my television –- and watched the Red Sox play their season opener (they won!).

 

Actually I’ve been a bit of a time and place traveler this week. When you feel crummy and too fuzzy to read it’s a great time to catch up with miniseries and the like. I watched parts 1-3 of John Adams and it’s been a glorious journey back to Colonial America. But it hasn't been all “Don’t Tread on Me” banners and tricorns bobbing by. There is a horrifying tar-and-feathering scene as well as the shameful wheeling and dealing by Adams and his gang to keep the Southern states on board. What was the result of this quid pro quo? Many, many more years of slavery. The pox inoculation scene, well, that was no day at the beach. And while we’re on the subject of suffering: no fair that a really smart woman like Abigail had to stay home while the guys got to play patriot.

 

I did not read David McCullough’s book on John Adams, which many people I know liked a lot. Also, the Boston Public Library has quite the Adams archives so I’ve got some catching up to do.

 

Also, figuratively transporting me this week was the HBO series called In Treatment. Talk about journeys. You are right in the middle of therapy sessions (fictional) and inside people’s heads. The way to watch this is a bunch at a time. I tried to watch the shows individually when the series first began, but I didn’t stay with it. Not worth getting sick for, but if you have to time watch a few -- one after the other.

 

What’s all this transporting got to do with books? Well, we all know that a good book can take you places and a bad or boring book makes you want to hop off the train. Also, I’ve been on a bunch of panels lately and more and more get asked about the Kindle and its effect on reading and books. I don’t own one and frankly I like transporting prose in that rectangular and efficient package called a book. It’s a warmer, friendlier delivery device, I think. But then I don’t have to cart around or travel with a lot of reading or research material.

 

I should probably try a Kindle one of these days. But just this morning in one of the many publishing trade email newsletters and updates I receive there was a quotation from this month’s Words Without Borders, the magazine for international literature:

 

The Book as An Art Object That We Should Defend

 

"Literature is inseparable today from the books that carry their stories. If we want to save literature we have to save the rectangular objects that carry and spread their words. We have to respect the book for what it is: an art object that we should defend, defend against censors, narrow-minded educators and, most of all, the dangers of war. Fiction has described wars better than any history book because a novelist, a true novelist, is not a warrior. Literature and war carry opposite genes."

         --Mai Ghoussoub, from Texterminators

So, Book Explorers, tell me: Are all rectangular objects equal? Could the quote above only be about a book with pages? Do you use a Kindle or other device? What is the reading experience on one like? 

Ande




Message Edited by ande on 03-25-2008 06:31 PM
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mwinasu
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Re: #14: Beam me up? Transporting books -- literally and figuratively

We still tend to get things much later than you do in the lower 48.  So I have never seen or heard of a Kindol.  How do they work?
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ande
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Re: #14: Beam me up? Transporting books -- literally and figuratively

[ Edited ]
It's a hand-held wireless reading device, which means you'd be reading chapters of a book on a screen. As I said, I have zero experience with any hand-held reading device so I can't tell you exactly what using one is like or exactly how they work.


Message Edited by ande on 03-26-2008 09:37 AM
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Maria_H
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Re: #14: Beam me up? Transporting books -- literally and figuratively

A little bit of a shameless plug: The History Book Club will be hosting a two-month discussion of John Adams starting in April and running to the end of May. Perhaps it's time you read the book and join us there, Ande?

Great line from Part 3: "Because we let them." Spoken by Abigail when her daughter asks why all the boys get to have all the fun.

Kindle, feh.

However, my husband has the Sony Reader. So rather than schlepping a great number of heavy manuscripts around, it's been a godsend to his back and to his fellow subway passengers during rush hour.

Glad you are feeling better and well-rested!


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ande
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Re: #14: Beam me up? Transporting books -- literally and figuratively

John Adams: I should read it! You're right. I'd have to scramble to be ready for the History Book Club, though. Guess I can't cheat by watching it on TV.
 
The combination of public transportation and heft manuscripts would be the thing that would drive me to a reading device such as your husband's. Do you ever use his Reader? What's the experience like?
 
And thank you for your good wishes. I am feeling great now.
 
Ande
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mwinasu
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Re: #14: Beam me up? Transporting books -- literally and figuratively

I am glad you are feeling better too ande.  I am sorry if I seem impolite.  I am still trying to remember that there are people on the other side of this screen.  Thanks for the answer. And in answer to your question , it is very likely that one day all of our technology will fail us and anything that is not backed up on paper will be lost.  Even then records of our culture may not survive.  I am thinking now about tape players and 8 tracks and the Code of Hamarabi.  Even paper decays.
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Re: #14: Beam me up? Transporting books -- literally and figuratively

[ Edited ]
Please! No need to apologize. Normally I am not a kvetch. But I had wanted to explain why I had been uncharacteristically silent.
 
Re: Technology. I know I am aging myself here, but years ago, I hated the idea of ATMs and pay TV.  I never thought they'd fly. But quickly I saw the beauty of never having to stand in line at the bank and watching a movie at home during a blizzard. Lord knows, my husband and I could live in a much smaller place if we didn't have all our books and CDs, but I, at least, am not there yet. Everyone assumes he has an i-pod and that I have all sorts of new-fangled reading devices, but we don't have those things. But if we needed to have them we would.
 
Ande
 


Message Edited by ande on 03-26-2008 01:09 PM
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Maria_H
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Re: #14: Beam me up? Transporting books -- literally and figuratively

You're right. I *am* right! :-)

Certainly, there's much to be gleaned from the series. How great is Laura Linney as Abigail? She is sublime. Enough about John Adams from me. Sorry, I did not mean to hijack this thread.

For now, he uses the Sony Reader solely to read submissions. He loves it, because, as you know, a manuscript can take up an entire ream of paper. He was surprised at how quickly he took to it. For someone who is not a gadget freak for the sake of being a gadget freak (you know who you are Mr. Self-Important-Early-Adopter), he has a surprising amount of personal electronics. I call him Radio Shack. The upside is that he can read these submissions anywhere. It's not simply toting all that heavy paper around, but it's also the convenience of reading them. For instance, rather than having to think ahead about which manuscripts to bring (to read during downtime/waiting time/etc.) it's all in the Reader and far easier to handle while you are out and about. Flipping through loose pages while waiting in the supermarket line is not what you want to do.

And I have read a few chapters from the Reader. I like it. It feels good in the hand and easy on the eyes. And to be able to rid one’s life of loose pages that a certain paper loving toddler loves to scatter while insisting “Daddy read! Daddy read!” (you know who you are, you little minx!), it’s a real boon!

Maria


ande wrote:
John Adams: I should read it! You're right. I'd have to scramble to be ready for the History Book Club, though. Guess I can't cheat by watching it on TV.

The combination of public transportation and heft manuscripts would be the thing that would drive me to a reading device such as your husband's. Do you ever use his Reader? What's the experience like?

And thank you for your good wishes. I am feeling great now.

Ande




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mwinasu
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Re: #14: Beam me up? Transporting books -- literally and figuratively

Are the books on disc.  How many manuscripts are on the device at one time?  What happens to the story when you are finished with it?   How does it work?  Now I am curious.  If you have time could you explain it a little more?  Thanks.
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Maria_H
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Re: #14: Beam me up? Transporting books -- literally and figuratively

The text is downloaded onto the Reader. It can hold quite a bit many books and when you are done, you can simply delete it. Here is a review of the Reader on CNet.

mwinasu wrote:
Are the books on disc. How many manuscripts are on the device at one time? What happens to the story when you are finished with it? How does it work? Now I am curious. If you have time could you explain it a little more? Thanks.




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mwinasu
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Re: #14: Beam me up? Transporting books -- literally and figuratively

Wow! Thank you for the information.