Practical Digital Reading

download-2.jpgDo you suppose the world will ever run out of books to read?

Probably not but I am more and more concerned about the future of paper and ink (physical) books in our future culture. I say this with three things in mind:

  • We have the technology available to us which will duplicate and even improve upon the paper and ink format;
  • We have the delivery systems in place that will allow distribution of reading matter in a matter of seconds;
  • The technology of today will more than likely be considered primitive in just a few short years.

I know there is a large population out there that needs to have their fix of moldy old tomes, savoring the aroma even before ogling the frontispiece. I expect that if smell is important, they’ll develop an app for it. Even today the apps for reading digital books recreate the physical experience with some accuracy if not tactilely sufficient, but the digital readers add so much more.

images-1.jpgFirst, I read digitally because I can increase the size of the font to counteract the weakness of my eyes. But there are so many other ways digital reading surpasses paper and ink reading. Here is a short list:

  • Besides increasing font size, you can also customize margins, the space between lines, the font being viewed, and a wealth of other features including colors and backgrounds;
  • Progress markers such as pages read, pages to go, percent of chapter read, etc. allow a quickly referenced reading status without requiring external spreadsheets or graphing applications;
  • If I don’t know the meaning of a word, a digital book will let me link to a definition and bounce back to my reading (many readers even keep track of all the words you had to look-up);
  • Hi-lighting is generally easy and some readers even allow multiple levels and multiple colors of hi-lighting; then when you look for important passages, they are all clustered in one place based on your hi-lighting.;
  • Well constructed digital books allow direct access to footnote material with a convenient bounce-back to resume reading at just the right spot;
  • Many reader include features to scan the text for things such as character names to assist in keeping the narrative straight (something I used to do on 3×5 cards);
  • I can read a text on any of several electronic devices and even keep my bookmarks in synch through the cloud; in fact I can even keep my books on the cloud so I can access them from just about anywhere;
  • Most readers allow a simple way to have the book read out loud, if only in a somewhat primitive computer voice.

download-1.jpgThis last month I noted thirty-one juicy titles that piqued my interest. A few titles I have already read but I might even get around to reading several of the other books in the near future, especially if there is a digital edition.

Here is that list:

  • 05-01-17 – Tiny Pieces of Skull — Roz Kaveney
  • 05-02-17 – Shahnameh — Ferdowsi
  • 05-03-17 – The Familiar, Volume 3, Honeysuckle & Pain — Mark Z. Danielewski
  • 05-04-17 – Reading Madame Bovary — Amanda Lohrey
  • 05-05-17 – The Tempest — William Shakespeare
  • 05-06-17 – The Red Sphynx — Alexander Dumas
  • 05-07-17 – How We Survived Communism & Even Laughed — Slavenka Drakulic
  • 05-08-17 – The Drowned and the Saved — Primo Levi
  • 05-09-17 – The Lost City of the Monkey God — Douglas Preston
  • 05-10-17 – The Sin of Father Mouret — Émile Zola
  • 05-11-17 – Exploits and Opinions of Dr Faustroll Pataphysician — Alfred Jerry
  • 05-12-17 – Continent — Jim Crace
  • 05-13-17 – Materialism — Terry Eagleton
  • 05-14-17 – Asleep — Banana Yoshimoto
  • 05-15-17 – The Book of Bram — Alexander Tisma
  • 05-16-17 – Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History — Bill Schutt
  • 05-17-17 – Autobiography of a Corpse — Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
  • 05-18-17 – Everything Belongs To Us — Yoojin Grace Wuertz
  • 05-19-17 – Convergence — Peter Watson
  • 05-20-17 – The Widow — Georges Simenon
  • 05-21-17 – Odysseus Abroad: A novel — Amit Chaudhuri
  • 05-22-17 – A Strangeness in my Mind: A novel — Orhan Pamuk
  • 05-23-17 – The Hearts of Men — Nickolas Butler
  • 05-24-17 – Androcles & the Lion — George Bernard Shaw
  • 05-25-17 – Collected Poems, 1947-1997 — Allen Ginsberg
  • 05-26-17 – American Junkie — Tom Hansen
  • 05-27-17 – A High Wind in Jamaica — Richard Hughes
  • 05-28-17 – Harlot’s Ghost — Norman Mailer
  • 05-29-17 – A General Theory of Oblivion — Jose Eduardo Agualusa
  • 05-30-17 – The Woman Next Door: A Novel — Yewande Omotoso
  • 05-31-17 – Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics Explained by Its Most Brilliant Teacher — Richard P. Feynman

 

One response

  1. I’m especially fond of the search feature for looking back to the introduction of a character. I was always too lazy to keep notes, lol.

    Like

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