Friday, June 4, 2010

HMMMM...x3 (MAKING CHOICES)

HMMMM...1

Here's a statistic from an article by Lev Grossman about choice in the latest Time magazine I found interesting:

"In 1994 there were 500,000 different consumer goods for sale in the U.S. Now Amazon alone offers 24 million."

HMMMM...2

Here's a link to an article in today's NY Times about late life divorces (ala the Gores). But what I find interesting—it was written by Deirdre Bair who also wrote my favorite biography of Samuel Beckett!

HMMMM...3

One of the kinds of choices that seems may go with more and more people reading e-books rather than the old fashioned kind, is what happened t me recently when an old friend gave me a recycled hardcover of a book I would most likely never have bought for myself and so would probably never have read. But because she gave me the book as a birthday gift I opened it the other night and began reading. And now it's the first one I reach for at night and spend the most time with because it's not only well read and fascinating, it's enlightening, and at least for me very entertaining. [Woops, meant "well written" back there but it came out "well read"—I'm still making a lot of mistakes when I write, especially when I'm tired, but thought I'd leave this one in because it's so interesting.]

How would I have had that experience in a world of only e-books, or even mostly e-books on Kindles and iPads etc.? She would have sent the book to me electronically? Without the cover art (photos of the authors discussed in the book, which appealed to me), and the feel and look of the pages...etc. I don't think I would have gotten into it and therefore would have missed that kick.

4 comments:

Jamie Rose said...

Re: E version "real" book.

People keep telling me that the "real" book is dead. But I just don't believe it. Maybe I'm naive, but there is just something about holding them. I can't believe that the newer generations are really so removed from this? I just can't imagine it. Books always have and continue to save my life. And I just love seeing them on my bookshelves.

harryn said...

perhaps the e-book works for some people,for some things - but not for this guy - not yet ...
i was all fired to ipad myself as ingenious promotions and testimonials infiltrated my weakness for new technology until faced with the notion of getting fingerprints on the screen - i can't bare it - conditioning of a different generation ...

besides, it all starts looking like entertainment rather than resource - and to push it further, more passive than active, perceptually [for now] ...

i can't say i wouldn't enjoy a media driven book about Lally: His life and work - that allows me to see and hear the poet in different venues - cross-referencing, and autobiographical notes, images, timelines, and ancillary notations whizzing by at the touch of a screen [ugh]- but we ain't there yet ...

i still own my first hardcover i received at four years old - and picked it up the other day to try to understand its impact on my consciousness as i worked on the new painting called aquarium - it was a Golden Book called The Sea you used to pick up at the grocery store if your parents had an extra dollar ...
i often pinpoint the exact location of a book, image, or piece of text by recalling its weight, shape, and texture - then proceed to the page by recalling the binding - and usually get it right from thousands of choices ... that's an irreplaceable joy and experience that defies comparison ...

maybe a new paradigm is developing for accessing the memories, but its hard to imagine it could ever trump the lifetime of pleasure the old hardcovers provide ...
today, everything seems so scratch n' sniff - a reality we may have to accept if BP has their way ...

and yes [regarding the post op typo], you'd have to be well read to be well written ...

AlamedaTom said...

I definitely agree that nothing can take the place of a "real" book. However, there is a place for ebooks, at least in my life. I use them for reading when toting around a book is impossible or impractical. I have read many books on my smart phone (first a Blackberry and now a Droid) while standing in line at the store, waiting in a doctor's office, waiting for a football game or a movie to start, etc. You would be amazed at how much "down time" there is in which you can read. The first thing I read in this manner was Stephen King's "The Stand," the unabridged version. It took me about four months or so, but it was great to be able to "whip it out" whenever and wherever I pleased. Since then, I have read about 10 other books in this manner. When I'm at home, or in places where it's not a hassle (or impossible) to have the real book, I read the real book. But when I'm on the go, I always have an ebook with me, which is totally cool. FYI, right now I am reading a great book: "A Spot of Bother" by Mark Haddon, which you can read about here: http://amzn.to/dlnxrT

Lally said...

I hear you guys (and others who have emailed me about this post) and feel the way about it you do, including Tom even though I have yet to read a book on a screen yet. But I certainly read lengthy articles pretty much every day and don't object to that.
My main point was about choice, the idea that because there is so much to choose from now, computer based programs are now making choices for us, so that we may end up, a lot of us, reading what's recommended by an alogorithim (bad spelling but you know what I mean) rather then stumbling on our next favorite book because someone left it on the train seat or passed an old copy on or we dug the cover and read the first paragraph in a book store etc,
I see lots of potential in electronic books as well as the traditional ones. I favor the latter, but I'd love to read a biography of Monk say, like I recently did, that included footage of some of his performances and recordings etc. (And thanks Paul for the vote of confidence in a multimedia memoir from yours truly).
It's obviously changing rapidly, and the biggest change, it seems, may be in the exponential growth in choices—of almost every kind.