Until there is a new way, I’ll read some of these books in April

ReadingTomorrow is the First of April. The day I try to avoid all practical jokers and also to begin to panic about my income tax. It’s also the start of a new reading pool and I have already put it together. This month I have a lot of carry-over titles since last month I had a lot of books I wanted to read but even with 31 days I came up woefully short. Furthermore, I will be once again starting the month reading several books I didn’t finish yet.

There are several books this year that demand my attention but unfortunately are quite large and time-consuming. Even so, if I can get it as a digital edition and load it on the iPad with a big black font, then I’ll put it on the list and read it while relaxing on the lanai with the sun shining and the alligators sunning around the pond.

One psychological problem with the digital editions I have noticed is that a large book, say over 900 pages, with the font expanded to make it readable by old, tired eyes, often shows on the eReader as an obscene and self-defeating number of pages. Who could look forward to 3,500 screen swipes? Having worked in computers for most of my life, I realized long ago that early computerization is generally just a more automatic version of what you did before the computerization. What computers eventually brought to a task was an entirely new way of doing something. So today we are amazed that an iPad (or whatever) mimics the experience of holding a book and flipping through the pages. Tomorrow, hopefully, there will be an app of the iPad which senses a twitch of your eyelid or a constriction of a pectoral and flips the page for you; then we can look forward to neural implants and instant reading.

The amount of written information—for business, for academics, for entertainment—is exploding and mere humans will never be able to keep up. Reading might become a vestigial skill, supplanted by something we can only imagine now.

But back to reality. Here is my reading pool for April:

(Bold titles are in progress already)

  1. The Sea — John Banville
  2. Giles Goat-Boy — John Barth
  3. How It Is — Samuel Beckett
  4. G. — John Berger *
  5. Old Masters — Thomas Bernhard *
  6. Trout Fishing In America — Richard Brautigan *
  7. Nostromo — Joseph Conrad *
  8. The Big Money — John Dos Passos
  9. A Bad Man — Stanley Elkin
  10. Glamorama — Brett Easton Ellis
  11. The Wine of Youth — John Fante [stories]
  12. Sophie’s World — Jostein Gaardner *
  13. The Ambassadors — Henry James
  14. Happyland — J. Robert Lennon *
  15. Martin Eden — Jack London *
  16. Akhenaten — Naguib Mahfouz *
  17. The Infatuations — Javier Marías *
  18. Runaway Horses — Yukio Mishima *
  19. House Made of Dawn — N. Scott Momaday *
  20. Laughter In the Dark — Vladimir Nabokov
  21. Doomed — Chuck Palahniuk *
  22. The Helmet of Horror — Victor Pelevin *
  23. The Man Who Loved Children — Christina Stead
  24. The Charterhouse of Parma — Renate Stendhal
  25. A Grain of Wheat — Ngugi wa Thiong’o
  26. Royal Family — William Vollmann
  27. Filth — Irvine Welsh *
  28. Salamander — Thomas Wharton *
  29. The Garlic Ballads — Mo Yan *
  30. Revolutionary Road — Richard Yates

What are your thoughts on this?

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