It is not easy pursuing the bookish life in this Internet age. There are so many distractions: web sites, blogs, e-commerce, games -- and those are just to cover my obsessions with cute shoes, longlasting mascara, and "Mad Men."

Today, for example: I'm traveling from DC to NY on the train so that tomorrow morning I can wake up and talk about this summer's hot books on NY1. I already have an MP3 player stuffed with all of my Van Morrison CDs (don't diss the Irish soul master, at least within my hearing) and an e-reader stuffed with great books, including the new Arthur Phillips, Cutting for Stone   by Abraham Verghese, and Geoff Dyer's Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi  I could easily plug in, power up, and tune out the world.

But it's more and more difficult to find the time and space in which to do that. If I -- who reads, interviews authors, and writes about books for a living -- find it difficult, then it must be even tougher for others, whose working lives allow little time for reading (whether that work is done in a cubicle, on a farm, or consists of wrangling toddlers in a family room). 

On the Acela today I have my MP3 player, my e-reader, my CrackBerry -- and now I have a wireless modem that lets me connect to the Internet anywhere, anytime. Not so long ago, my only travel entertainment options were newspapers, magazines, and yes, books. 

Is it any wonder we're reading less? Fortunately, I love to read so much that as soon as I've finished some essential paycheck-related tasks, I really will start a new novel and be happily lost in it before we even reach Wilmington. But it has me thinking that books, especially fiction, have to be better than ever in order to grab the attention of modern consumers. While readers in a particular genre or series will probably continue to read heavily on their familiar paths, even those books are going to have to get better and better, since there are only so many books any reader can devour. 

Even the greedy ones, like me, who have some leisure time on a comfortable train to dive in to a great read right now. The seat next to me is empty; won't you sit down and crack a book?
Comments
by Moderator Melissa_W on ‎05-21-2009 05:19 PM

Mmmm, CrackBerry.  I have the eReader software for my CrackBerry but I don't use it terribly much; only when I have to stand-up on the bus and I've run out of newspapers and Twitter updates to read.  If I can wangle a seat, and I'm good at wangling, I dig out my book (one of several - I am very partial to large handbags/totes).  I've usually got my iPod out and running so I don't have to speak to anyone (pet peeve:  why do people try and interrupt while I'm reading?) so that gives me about 20 minutes of reading time.  And I can read fast.

 

I took my first (real) train ride a few years ago when visiting my friend in Wales; it was very nice and made me wish we had trains in Iowa.  if we were on the Acela I'd happily join you in some reading time :smileyhappy:

by on ‎05-21-2009 08:54 PM

why do people try and interrupt while I'm reading?

 

Because to open up a book and read in public is an old fashioned invitation to conversation.

 

Sounds to me like you have to much private life in public. Big city hmm?

by Moderator Melissa_W on ‎05-22-2009 12:06 PM
College town with large university hospital - there are a lot of ex-cons on the bus.  And they never want to talk about a book....they usually want to complain about the unfairness of being on parole for [insert name of crime here].
by on ‎05-22-2009 06:55 PM

College town with large university hospital - there are a lot of ex-cons on the bus.  And they never want to talk about a book....they usually want to complain about the unfairness of being on parole for [insert name of crime here].

 

(small wince) Sounds like they'd talk to you no matter what you were doing. 

 

 

by on ‎05-23-2009 01:35 PM

Ah....what's a 'CrackBerry'?

 

I'm still a little behind the times, I guess.  I crack a book, and listen to a Walkman, and, sorry,  talk to people who read books. 

 

A nun saved my sanity, once, on a plane.  I was sitting next to her.  I politely asked what she was reading...I was too nervous/fidgety to read....we didn't stop talking about books until the plane landed!   I thanked her, and told her what a pleasure it was talking to her.  She understood.   On the return trip I plugged my Walkman into my ears, and by the time the whole score of Phantom of The Opera was finished, I was on the ground.  Now I have a CD player...which I see, now, is fastly being outdated....

by on ‎05-23-2009 03:52 PM

Ah....what's a 'CrackBerry'?

 

A BlackBerry is a hand held phone, email, data organizer. CrackBerry refers to all those who addicted to theirs. 

 

See also

Syncsic-,anyone who goes through withdrawls when not consatntly connected (synced up) to the web.

 

Caveman-  insult used when you ask a phone salesman for the simplified model. "ah you don't want to be a caveman do ya?"

by on ‎05-23-2009 08:32 PM

Thanks, TB...Cave woman, that's me.  Although, all of this has me contemplating my next upgrade.....compliments of my daughter......  My next phone has to be something that I can actually type on...not this interim phone I'm dealing at the moment.  My daughter likes to send me text messages....it takes me forever and a day to find the letters...and sending a message back, sounds like I never passed first grade english! I lv u

 

Bethanne wrote:  But it has me thinking that books, especially fiction, have to be better than ever in order to grab the attention of modern consumers. While readers in a particular genre or series will probably continue to read heavily on their familiar paths, even those books are going to have to get better and better, since there are only so many books any reader can devour. 

 

 

I'm wondering why, now, really, do books/authors have to be "better than ever"?  I know the market is flooded with aspiring writers, and the publishing co. are picking and choosing, due somewhat to the economy, but what does the new technology have to do with this, or with modern consumers?  So many books, but so many more readers!  With the modern, easy way of accessing most new novels, with the touch of a finger - it should be just the opposite happening.  

what do you think?

 

I know I can only read so many books, and yes, I do have my favorite authors, but these authors aren't flooding the market with a mass of factory writers behind them.   That stinks!   These are the writers deplore!  It closes the market up for the 'newbie', who just might be the most brilliant writer out there!  I'm always trying to find the exceptional first time novelist.  You have to think, also, even your favorites will sometimes stop writing.

 

Kathy

by on ‎05-23-2009 10:44 PM
Less is more"BadGal Mascara" Benefit . Balance is the key,  bookish always but never without a little "The Balm" clear or a hint of pink lipgloss..caring about yourself is like being passionate about your books... My daughter has a "Crackberry"  not for me yet.. maybe ,maybe not...maybe....V..
by on ‎05-24-2009 12:04 AM

Thanks, TB...Cave woman, that's me.  Although, all of this has me contemplating my next upgrade.....compliments of my daughter......  My next phone has to be something that I can actually type on...not this interim phone I'm dealing at the moment.  My daughter likes to send me text messages....it takes me forever and a day to find the letters...and sending a message back, sounds like I never passed first grade english! I lv u

 

I recomend any of the models with a full key board side out feature. Cheeper and easier to type on than a BlackBerry. Still not all that big, but at least the keyboards in the normal configuration and is roughly the size of the whole phone. It helps.

by on ‎05-24-2009 01:18 AM

I recomend any of the models with a full key board side out feature. Cheeper and easier to type on than a BlackBerry. Still not all that big, but at least the keyboards in the normal configuration and is roughly the size of the whole phone. It helps.

 

Thanks, I was wondering about the comparisons to a BlackBerry.  I thought the BlackBerry was the only one with a normal keyboard. So little cave woman knows!

by on ‎05-24-2009 02:24 PM

I recomend any of the models with a full key board side out feature. Cheeper and easier to type on than a BlackBerry. Still not all that big, but at least the keyboards in the normal configuration and is roughly the size of the whole phone. It helps.

 

Thanks, I was wondering about the comparisons to a BlackBerry.  I thought the BlackBerry was the only one with a normal keyboard. So little cave woman knows!

 

Most common gripe from generational crossover users. "I can't type on this thing." There was a big market for it. Over 7 models out there with the side out, so you should be able to find one that suits.

by Moderator Melissa_W on ‎05-26-2009 01:24 AM

My BlackBerry has a QWERTY keyboard but the keys are smaller than many of the slideout models.

 

I went with BB when i renewed my cell phone contract because I was tired of juggling (and keeping track of) a phone and a PDA.  BB allows me to have all my contacts, calendar, etc. stuff, as well as my phone plus it does internet so I can keep track of my work email even when I'm trapped in meetings (very handy when I get emails with the topic "please edit ASAP" - it can get me out of a pointless meeting).  The data plans for Sprint are pretty reasonable (and there's only me on the plan so I don't have to split my minutes).

 

 

05-24-2009 12:18 AM
By KathySKathyS

I recomend any of the models with a full key board side out feature. Cheeper and easier to type on than a BlackBerry. Still not all that big, but at least the keyboards in the normal configuration and is roughly the size of the whole phone. It helps.

 

Thanks, I was wondering about the comparisons to a BlackBerry.  I thought the BlackBerry was the only one with a normal keyboard. So little cave woman knows!

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