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Monday’s List: The Necessary Evil of E-Readers

What’s a Monday without a list? Stasha, over at The Good Life, understands the power of lists. Lists are my version of what Jeff Goldblum said about rationalizations, in “The Big Chill:” “Rationalizations are better than sex. Ever gone a day without a rationalization?”

I can go a day without a rationalization, but I’m not sure I can go a day without a list. We won’t talk about that third term in the equation.

Here’s Monday’s list, occasioned by the fact that I’ve been reading books on the iPad: an amazing memoir about Japan, Hiroshima, and marriage, called Hiroshima in the Morning, by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto; another crazy Scandinavian thriller, The Snowman, by Jo Nesbo (what is it about these close-to-the-North-Pole people that they come up with such wild plots? lack of sunlight? socialism?); Mary Poppins, to Caleb, our before-bed-chapter-book; and now, finally, the fifth (and I hope to god the last) Game of Thrones book, called Dance with Dragons.  I’ve been simultaneously enthralled and bored to tears by these books, but by this point I’ve invested so many damn pages that I have to finish the fifth one just to see what the hell happens to the hundreds of characters we’ve been following for four previous novels.

Here’s the thing: the ipad feels like a necessity, because we’re traveling for the next month and when we finally land, in a new apartment, in a new country, I won’t have a lending library to feed my almost book-a-week reading habit.  But I’m not a convert. Husband, of course, accuses me of being nostalgic, luddite, “so twentieth century.” To which this list is my response:

1. There is no glare problem with a book when you’re reading on the beach.

2. When you’re reading on the beach and the book gets damp, you get only some wrinkled pages, not fried electronica.

3. A book never says “a wi-fi connection cannot be established, please try again.”

4. I can lend a book to a friend, a relative, leave it on the train for the next passenger, donate it to a thrift shop.

5. It’s easy to flip back through the pages of a book to see if you’ve missed an important detail.

6. An e-reader will never acquire pages soft with time or the scent of whatever house has provided bookshelf space.

7. No flight attendant ever tells you to put a book away during take-off and landing

8. A book never runs out of charge at a particularly thrilling moment.

9. If you wonder why the hell you’re reading a book in the first damn place, it’s easy to flip to the blurbs on the back and figure out why you were suckered into reading it.

10. For someone (like me) who spends way the hell too much time in front of a computer, an e-reader feels more like work than an escape from work

Of course, this list becomes moot, unfortunately, when I consider the fact that A Dance With Dragons is more than 1000 pages long–in hardback–and lugging it around would wreck my back for the forseeable future.

On my ipad, that fifth book behemoth doesn’t weigh anything at all.

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Continue Reading · on July 18, 2011 in Books, Travel

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