* where “reading” is used in the sense of “absorbing the contents of a book by whatever means available”.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago I got myself a Nook before we went to the North Shore for ten days in August. I chose that particular ereader device for two three reasons: 1, it was compatible with the ebooks available through the library (= free books); B, it was one of the cheaper ones; and iii, I saw it at the local Wally World and could get it immediately.
Immediate gratification = a good thing as long as the other factors are favorable.
(We shall not speak of the despicable store from which I chose to purchase it. See immediate gratification, above.)
I have been using it on and off for six weeks and have reached the conclusion that it is a nice alternative to packing printed books when traveling but that will never replace them in my life.
As I re-read that sentence, I think, Duh.
The same is true of audiobooks. I prefer to inject certain types of written material through my ears rather than my eyes. I can listen happily to nonfiction that might be slightly too dry to keep my attention in an analog book — biographies are one example. Other genres are better in a printed book; in a mystery or suspense novel it is sometimes useful to be able to flip back through the pages to check on some detail mentioned in passing on page 98 but which turns out at page 213 to be a key plot point — easy in the printed version, difficult in an ebook, virually impossible in an audiobook.
[digression] Epubs and audio and printing are all just different ways to offer information. To the reader it means more choices, which is generally a good thing. To a library, it means making the decision as to which medium (or media) to purchase for the collection. Sadly, this often means additional expense. [/digression]
* * * * *
One of the best things I have read recently was Passage by Connie Willis, a novel that deals with near-death experiences, both from a clinical perspective and a New Age one. I’m not giving anything away to say that the New Age view comes out a very poor second in the book. It is an older book (© 2002) and not in Willis’s usual British and historical or time-travel mode, but I loved the way her doctor/clinical researchers dealt with the physical realities of near-death experiences. As you might guess I am not a New Ager — crystals and auras and The Secret are 1% truth and 99% fuzzy-wuzzy commercial crappe, imnsho, although I have friends that swear by them. Give me a peer-reviewed, double-blind study or go home, I say.
::descends from soapbox, muttering to self::
Willis is a highly acclaimed and prize-winning author for good reason. She writes damned good stuff — insightful, fast-moving, often science-focused. Before Passage, Bellwether was my favorite of her books, maybe because it had sheep, but also because it was light-hearted and touched on chaos theory. Doomsday Book was excellent. I think I need to re-read To Say Nothing of the Dog; it was a long time ago when I read it.
So far on the Nook I have read two John Sandford mysteries (Bad Blood, a Virgil Flowers novel, and Phantom Prey, a Lucas Davenport book; the first was very good, the second was weak) and a Nelson DeMille thriller (Cathedral), all from the library; most of a couple of free nonfiction books from the University of Chicago Press (somehow I got on their email list for a free monthly ebook); and free samples of several other books in various genres from Barnes & Noble, none of which interested me enough to want to read the entire book. Next month my book group is reading my choice, American Gods by Neil Gaiman (I <3 Neil Gaiman), and I bought the ebook version. I ponder whether that might have been a mistake — it is difficult to put Post Its in an ebook to mark significant passages, although I need to explore the features of the Nook a bit more to see if it offers an electronic version of Post Its.
* * * * *
Like nearly every other electronic handheld device, the Nook needed a case to protect its screen from scratches and to cushion it a bit when I drop* it. I could have bought one, but where is the fun in that?
Yarn and a crocket hook to the rescue!
If I had had more time I might have knitted and felted a case, but we were leaving on vacation. Hand-felting in a campground, while possible, did not appeal to me, so I went with the crochet version instead to get a fabric thick enough to be protective.
I intended to add a button and chained button loop and left a long enough yarn tail at the end to do that once I got home to my button collection, but the case seems to fit snugly enough that it needs no closure to stay on.
If you are a hooker crocheter, you will recognize single crochet (SC). I chained a bunch, then SC into each chain, SC three times into the last chain, SC into the other side of each chain, and SC twice into the last chain (where I started). Continued SC round and round until it was deep enough. It took a couple tries to get the initial chain the right length, but I still made the entire thing in an afternoon.
* Dropping a handheld device is inevitable. This happened on Friday; as I was pulling my jeans back up in the bathroom, the iPod fell out of my pocket onto the hard tile floor. I have dropped this and previous iPod any number of times, but this time it landed just right wrong.