Friday, May 28, 2010

While deriving

I'm immersed in books lately. It seems to have started after my recuperation from surgery. Once I was able to concentrate on something other than bad television, I started reading, and I haven't stopped yet. I've read 44 books so far this year, which compares favorably to the number of books I was reading years ago before I started spending so much time on the computer.

I've been checking out books from the library, but I've also been reading a lot on my iPhone, which I'd rather do, actually, except for the minor point of buying all those books. I ran across this article about the Kindle this morning on the Amazon blog:

And...of interest to me as a critical of the anticipated minuses turned out to be a plus, in a way. There were no clues--no jacket, no typographical design, no author photo, no blurbs...nothing to influence my response to the book except the words themselves. I read everything a little more carefully.
--Lee Child

That's one of the reasons that I like reading electronically also. I'm kind of a snob about books; if I pick a book up off the shelf, either in a bookstore or in the library, I do judge it by the cover. I also judge it by the typeface, how large the type is, the size and heft of the book, whether it has deckled page edges (which I dislike) or not, etc. The biggest thing for me is the typesize and no, I don't want it larger so I don't have to wear my reading glasses, I want it to be small. I like long books, I like being able to immerse myself in a book for days.

I also especially like trade paperbacks. That's probably my favorite format. But with an ereader, none of those considerations come into play. As Child says, it's just the words. And I do find myself reading pretty much all of them, unlike how I tend to read a paper book. I don't speed read or skim, really, but I do tend to skip over long descriptions of fights or battles or landscapes. An interesting note -- Bob has been known to pick up a book and reject it because it has too much dialog, while I'll reject a book because it has too little dialog.

What I find with an ebook, particularly reading on the iPhone with the small screen, is that I read more closely, and feel like I get more out of it. It seems like a more personal, more intimate experience, I think. It's kind of the same way with audiobooks. I think I get a more complete understanding of a book by listening to it, because for some reason I pay more attention than I do when I'm reading a book.

Of course, I guess that's not exactly a good thing, since I only listen to audiobooks while I'm driving . . . [I first typed that as "deriving," as in, "I only listen to audiobooks while I'm deriving." :) I derive much pleasure from audiobooks, btw.

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