eBooks or “Real” Books?

kindleAuthors stand up for traditional books over e-books
Article by Louise Gray
The Telegraph: July 21, 2013

Just a few years after the launch of the Kindle, old fashioned books are making a comeback as authors promote the joy of bookshelves and well thumbed pages over the e-book.

I found myself quite annoyed by this article on the comeback of old fashioned books.

Philosopher Alain de Botton says he “dumped e-books when he realised the information didn’t really sink in without physical contact with a real book… I found that whatever I read on my Kindle I couldn’t really remember in the long term. It was as if I had never read it.” This may be true for him, but it’s certainly not my experience, or that of most other ebook readers, or we too would give them up.

I find digital reading to be a better experience — when I was reading my first ebook on my first Kindle, I found it awkward for about the first fifty pages, and then suddenly everything just clicked. My thumb was turning the page effortlessly, and I had the strange and thrilling sensation that the author was sitting at a keyboard writing and the text was going directly into my mind. I can’t explain it better than that, it just felt so much smoother than holding a physical book. I now read for longer periods of time than I did with print, and I read more because I am never without a book and all waiting time has become reading time. I rarely buy or borrow print books anymore, but I see this as a matter of personal preference. I don’t like the implication that either the print or digital format is somehow superior for everyone.

joebeanAuthor Jilly Cooper talks about how she missed being able to take notes in ebooks the way she does in print books: “I like to scribble all over [books] and write things and say ‘Well done’ and ‘God how awful’ and ‘Let’s remember that bit’. I always underline good bits and turn over the pages of bits that absolutely knock me out.” I think that writers are more likely to make this sort of notes than most readers. I was never much interested in taking notes in books. Writing in books always felt like defacement to me, even in my own books. (Possibly this is related to being a librarian.) I’ve always disliked finding notes (or worse, wavering lines of ugly yellow highlighter) in used books I’ve bought. But I do highlight text and make notes now using Kindle, and this meets my needs perfectly, since the highlighting and notes are attached to the text but I can see them or hide them as I am reading.

As you can see, I get defensive when I read articles like this or hear people talking about the superiority of “real” books. But maybe that’s how other people feel when they hear people like me going on and on about the obvious (to me) superiority of ebooks.

As toywithwords noted in the comments on this article: “…the words are the most important part of books, everything else is packaging.

Ice Cream Memories

When my daughters were young, White Farms in Ipswich was one of our favorite ice cream places. We used to stop here sometimes on our way home from sister’s house, or after Sunday visits to the flea market, or sometimes when we just felt like a little outing. We never called it White Farms, though — it was always just the Place with the Cow on the Roof.

Bubbling Brook I wish I had a picture of this place taken back then. I wish I had a picture of my little girls standing there holding ice cream cones, many pictures taken over those years, all ages and many flavors.

And I wish I had pictures of myself and my sister at our family’s favorite ice cream stand, the Bubbling Brook in Westwood. I still drive miles out of my way to go back there once in a while, just to remember the happy days, take a few photographs (and also enjoy maple walnut in a sugar cone.)

I wish I had pictures of all the ordinary places in my life — not just the ice cream stands but the coffee shops, sandwich places, restaurants, bookstores, libraries and all the other places that were once part of our family’s lives, places where we once were regulars. I sometimes wish that I had spent my whole life taking as pictures as casually and prolifically as I do now, so I would have pictures of every place and person and thing in my life. But then I remind myself that I do have all of those pictures, as memories if not as photographs.

The Gazebo at Ell Pond Park

The Gazebo at Ell Pond Park

Spring at Ell Pond ParkYesterday was a fine spring day, and I finally stopped at Ell Pond Park and took a few photographs. I have driven past this park many times over the years, but have never stopped because I was always in a hurry or too tired, or it was too hot or too cold or too rainy, or I didn’t have my camera with me. There are a lot of places like this in the area that I somehow have never gotten around to photographing — I think I need to make a list of them and then one fine day go do them all.

I’m glad I finally stopped at Ell Pond Park — it was lovely.

It’s a Surprise Every Year

Every year there’s a week or two when there are blossoms on some trees and tiny pale green leaves on others, and there’s forsythia everywhere, just outrageously yellow. And then the season moves forward, all the trees are covered with dark green leaves, and the forsythia seems to disappear when it turns into green leafy shrubbery. When their brief bright season is over, I can’t identify forsythia by sight, and I don’t really remember which trees in my area are the kind that blossom.

And then all of a sudden, it’s April and I’m surprised and delighted by the amazing display!

Beverly CommonMontserrat College of ArtPeabody Institute Library of DanversJohn Balch House

What really scares them…

ScienceBoston author Denise Lehane posted this as part of his Facebook status:

“When I watch the footage of the first explosion, I look at the Boston Public Library Main Branch across the street, and I think no matter who they turn out to be–Islamic jihadists, home grown militia, neo-Nazis, something else — what really scares them, what they truly hate, is the access to knowledge that building exemplifies.”

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