Thursday, May 30, 2013

here's why i use an e-reader

I read books. Here are a few I grabbed off my to-read stack to show you. I've already read the Kate Taylor, when it was published in 2003, but something else I read recently made me decide to read it again.

A lot of writers and readers I've spoken to tell me they will only ever read print books. They love the feel of the paper, the book as object, the cover, the layout. I love all those things too.
However. Fat books are heavy and I often read in transit. E-readers are light. They come with dictionaries for those of us who read other languages. Or even those of us who don't happen to know every word in English. You can adjust the size of font.
I got myself a Kobo a couple of years ago. It's light, practical and you get used to reading the screen. Believe me, you do. I got a leather cover which has sleeves where I keep paper for jotting notes, which, on a print book, I do on the flyleaf. Since the book I'm reading now is German, I especially appreciate the dictionary. You can't flip through the pages, the way you can in a print book, but guess what? There's a search option if you can't recall who a character is or when you last read a detail which suddenly reveals itself to be significant.

When I'm reading at night in bed, I don't always find it comfortable to read a print book. I have progressive lenses and when I'm slid low on my pillows, my book is propped too high for the reading part of my lenses. I have to keep rucking myself up to read the top of a page or angle my head back to see out the bottom of my glasses. An e-reader is smaller. I can slouch, which might not be good for my back but makes reading more comfortable.
In my opinion, ease of reading tops the feel of paper--since the experience of reading is ultimately more imaginative than sensual. (Sensual too, yes, depending on what you're reading, but that happens in the imagination, not to your body. Though it's neurologically interesting how your body is affected. But still: always via the imagination.)

I was also given a Sony e-reader. The cover Sony sells is ugly, so I made myself one. I use a cover because I don't want my reader to get knocked about and maybe scratched when it's in my messy knapsack. I used upholstery fabric for the outside and a combination cotton/silk for the inside. I know, the corners and edges aren't straight--it's my first attempt. I was aiming for some of the textural aspects that I'm not getting because I'm not reading a print book.

I still do old-fashioned things like use a fountain pen, weave, make bread, knit.
Re: print versus e-books, the essential is to keep reading. Always.

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