joi, 12 ianuarie 2012

Kindle, affection and affliction

I have been giving up on the printed page while taking an interest in what I perceive being more of a tool than a medium. And there are great advantages. The most obvious one is that I can go around with thousands of books in my backpack, although in case of an apocalyptic disaster (it will be one of the themes of 2012) I still need to charge my e-book at some point. Secondly, there is the nicely built-in dictionary, which comes in handy when you have to read China Mieville's "Perdido Street Station" in English because the Romanian translation is pretty much crap. It is still an electronic device, though you certainly have a reading experience that is both healthy and hearty when compared to the backlit screen. Very useful, I can send on-line articles or essays from any website to my device, using Readability or Instapaper - this gives me a nice collection I can access at any time, as long as I don't forget to bring my Kindle with me. But I won't because I plan to connect it to my brain via USB as soon as this option becomes available. And this brings me to what I think is one of the greatest advantages Kindle has, which is basically taking the on-line out of "on-line reading". It gives you isolation, the chance to disconnect from Facebook, e-mail, Youtube, annoying pop-up messages. It makes reading feel important and focused, a more pleasurable and sane experience.

It's been a year now and Kindle still smiles when he sees me. (I suddenly decided he has to be a boy, mostly because I am a gay boy and I prefer to connect boy things to my brain). I recently went through my Goodreads account and noticed that, against all the good feelings I have about e-readers, I still read more on paper. There are the font and the smell of the ink, the weight, the design of the cover, the way the first letter of the chapter takes over the space. They all add up to an artefact that personalises the experience. It is a matter of sensuality: Kindling is like having sex with ten different people sharing the same body.

There's nothing quite like a real book. Without books we won't have bookshops and libraries to take shelter to on a rainy day. The video below is an attempt to stand up for the pleasures of paper. It is the proof that "books are not dead, they simply prefer to dance at night." Enjoy!


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