Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What about reading?

If you have been reading for many years, pause.  Ask yourself what you have read.  You can search various records or ask your brother or your kids what they remember you reading.  It can be fun to try to recall what was the first, or an early book, you read, all by yourself.  It may not be worthwhile trying too hard to get to the very first one, just as having read many books, it may not be worth it to agonize over which was the BEST.

You have eaten many meals.  Which was the very BEST?  Rather than spend energy on comparing candidates for the #1 position, it can be faster and as much fun, to simply sit with a pad and pen and jot down titles that come to mind from your reading history.  If you have been married for a long time, you may find that what you yourself have read has become intertwined in your memory of what your partner has read and mentioned to you.

It can be fun to locate a book that you read about a decade ago and start it again.  You may be appalled at the tripe that you liked or you may be amazed at the good taste your younger self was able to enjoy in such good writing and thinking.

The big development these days in the area of books is ebooks, although there are other sorts of changes, too. The insertion of links, live or merely spelled out, to related topics and explanations, and the insertion of ads or videos is getting more common.  I can see what I want to understand fairly quickly with English words so I am not in favor of ad insertions distracting me or videos slowly getting to the point I want to know.

Ebooks have been around for a while in one sense.  My copy of Appleworks included a word processor and I used it quite happily in 1984, nearly 30 years ago.  My little computer wasn't connected to a network or the Big Internet then so I had to print out my statement or manuscript and mail it or carry it to someone but the file existed, could be transported on a disk carried mechanically.

Before my great-grandson could read, he was pretty sharp at looking for a short time at the art work on the cover of a book or a movie cassette and judging whether he wanted to spend more time listening or watching the work.  One of the interesting things about books is the way the cover design, and the need for it, has persisted.  Kindles of the older sort can not show images very well but the newer models and iPads and iPods are careful to provide for viewing of cover art, for books or movies or music albums

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