Friday, December 07, 2012

Then I can REALLY knock it.

You know the expression "Don't knock it 'til you've tried it"? Well, I'm trying an e-reader.

My local library loans them out, and though I rant and rave against those things, people who own them keep saying "Oh you should try it." So, I borrowed one.

The one I have is the Kobo, and I'm assuming it's bottom-of-the-line. It sure doesn't perform too well. Slow page turns, even slower book loads, difficult to read (maybe the contrast is too low? No option to change it.).

I have so far found two unexpected pros. First, the Kobo comes preloaded with 100 classics. This feature wouldn't appeal to a lot of people, I know, but when I scrolled through them I saw that the titles included a great deal of the books I have on my shelves. I collect literature because those books are timeless - why buy James Patterson? No reason. No reason at all.

Second, a super heavy, thick book can be annoying to pack around with you. Just for example, the Kobo already includes Anna Karenina, War and Peace, and Vanity Fair. AND, you have the option of viewing them in large print. Imagine reading a large print version of War and Peace on the bus? You'd need a collapsible lectern.

An unexpected con, though, came my way last night. I was 3/4 of the way done my annual pilgrimage through "A Christmas Carol", and was using the e-reader. I got to the famous "the colour hurts my eyes'" scene, wherein Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come are standing in the Cratchits' cottage watching Mrs Cratchit stitch on Tiny Tim's funeral linens. Bob Cratchit is about to come through the door having been to the place where Tim's grave will be. He is about to say this line:
"But however and whenever we part from one another, I am sure we shall none of us forget poor Tiny Tim -- shall we -- or this first parting that there was among us?"

No matter how many times I've read it, every time I get to that line I bawl like a little tiny baby.

Not this time, though.

On the e-reader, I was COMPLETELY unable to connect emotionally to the story.

How weird is that?!

More on the e-reader later. I'm about to go get my mouth fixed (praise God).


Carolyn said...

I'm a 'real book' person. I use my Kindle daily. Why? My Kindle READS to me! I can listen to those lovely freebies while knitting lace and Fair Isle. It's no longer a choice between 'knit or read'? I can have my cake and eat it too.

Not all Kindles have text-to-speech. I think just the Kindle 3G Keyboard and Touch do. Paperwhite does not.

Valerie said...

I succumbed and bought a Galaxy Tab 2 7" tablet a couple months ago to use as an e-reader and general portable device.

Those preloaded books on the Kobo are free anywhere online. All of Dickens, a lot of Henry James, Willa Cather, Wilkie Collins...etc. Am currently reading Tale of Two Cities on mine, which is easier than holding that big, heavy book.

You are right...just like audio books, not all books make good e-books. But, I can increase the font size and easily read Tale... while I'm on the treadmill in the AM and it holds my attention just fine. And like Carolyn, I prop the e-reader on a pillow, keep the larger font size, and can read while knitting....turning the page at the end of a row.

I was sure you were going to say you got to the best part and the battery went dead. That has happened to me. In real books, the battery never dies.....

Dave Hingsburger said...

Joe and I are too old for this stuff. We like books. I like watching the journey my bookmark (which I have had, and have loved, for more than ten years) makes through the pages. I have and odd habit of, when I'm finished reading, collecting together the read portion to see what a dint it's made in the book. So, we aren't likely to get one of these things - we were offered one free a bit ago and turned it down.

Shan said...

YES YES YES YES YES!!! Dave! I couldn't agree more. I want to know where I am.

I believe it was Seinfeld who once remarked that he didn't like digital clocks. "It's an endless succession of 'You Are Here' signs without a map."

Same thing with the e-reader.