Write on- Do I want an experience or a good old fashioned read?


The art of writing

I really fought letting go of the old typewriter to embrace the computer. I fought the idea of reading books on e readers, and it’s no longer just an idea that you can have music, or multi media in a book… it’s here.  Imagination has become reality.

I spent this Sunday doing something I thought I would never do. I confess.  I read the Sunday Times on an app. Gosh..the guilty pleasure of not having to even see the sport’s section. Do I want to download it? No, no, thank you. So I didn’t push that button. Oh the glory of that escape! I happily downloaded the sections that I wanted! The rest remains somewhere in cyberspace!

It was quite mind-boggling at first. There were articles to read, videos imbedded in them to watch or not watch as I please.  Videos that didn’t have articles attached to them.  A swipe of my finger could clear away a cloud from a page to reveal text-( too childish for me- but I could see the value in it) and a button to BUY this book now. Oh, I was tempted. Sorely tempted.

An annoying advert sat next to an article that I wanted to read, displaying the dull eyes of a  monkey which opened and closed.  Very slowly. Very annoying. I neither read the article nor bought the product they were flogging. I did try to put my finger on the monkey’s eyes, desperately hoping to cyber blind it. No luck.

I can see reading history and non-fiction like this, with moving maps and charts and wild diagrams pointing out things to me that my imagination cannot create. Hmmm… I wonder….

I would have loved this as a child or to even explore new worlds with one now! How amazing it must be for children today, and I wonder what flights of fancy it will trigger for them.

Then  there was the new novel  by a favourite author of mine. I went to the e-book store and was stunned to see the price. 30$ Stunned. I had another look to see why this book was so expensive, I mean I adore this writer, but seriously that much money for an e pub?

I got the free sample and was really taken back. I am not sure how I feel.

The author gives a video interview about the book which was very interesting but he didn’t fail to mention his previous awards. (Seriously?) But in chapter one, and chapter two, you have the option of:

a.  reading the chapter in glorious silence


b. listening to the author read the book.

I am on the fence here.

Part of me loves this. I love hearing the author speak. I adore having him read it to me, but the other part of me wants to read. To read in silence without buttons to push, things to distract me from the actual writing. Little slider bars embedded into the text distract me.  I don’t like pushing things by mistake and ending up…well I get distracted easily.

I don’t know if this new medium will win me over or not. I swore I would never give up the typewriter, but there it sits covered in dust.  I don’t know how I will feel after reading the book, will the process of video, audio, and interaction, and musical score exhaust me? Will I get into the story? I am not sure yet. It’s a hefty price to pay for an e-book, but since it’s in pre-order now, I will have to play with the sample chapters and see how I get on.

I’m curious…how are you feeling about this? Do you want to read with all the bells and whistles, or just sit down with a good book and read little printed characters that make up old-fashioned words?

( I just rechecked and apparently the publisher has dropped the price of the enhanced version to a more reasonable 14.02 and it’s no longer in pre-order)

About susan sheldon nolen

It’s rare to catch me without coffee, a form of camera, or my beloved wire fox terriers. I love the history, the art, and it’s a massive part of my life, as I either paint, write, or get interrupted by my dogs, reminding me of the real world. I hope you enjoy your time here. It’s such a privilege to have readers.
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5 Responses to Write on- Do I want an experience or a good old fashioned read?

  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    Wow, I think anything over $7.99 is pushing it for an e-book. But I’m not so sure I could embrace this audio medium either. I have enough activities that stimulate multiple senses simultaneously. When I read, I enjoy the silence. That’s part of the allure. And I am absolutely positive no one would want to hear my voice narrating a book. Think Charlie Brown’s parents. Yep, that’s me.

    By the way, I loved this sentence: “I did try to put my finger on the monkey’s eyes, desperately hoping to cyber blind it.” 🙂

  2. I like having other interactive features with an e-book (behind the scenes, interview with the author, that sort of thing.) But, I just want to read when I’m reading it.

    • I am really on the fence right now. I so can see the benefits of this for non fiction. Fiction? I am not sure. Children’s fiction? Maybe…but I still believe the imagination is something that cannot be duplicated by a machine.

  3. Lynne Ayers says:

    I’m still winning the fight with the e-book takeover – to lose the feel of the pages, the smell of an older book … lying in bed with a I-pad or Kindle doesn’t sound as good as curling up with a good book but when you said “I can see reading history and non-fiction like this, with moving maps and charts and wild diagrams pointing out things to me that my imagination cannot create. Hmmm… I wonder….” Hmmmmm … I wonder indeed …

    • Hi Lynne! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I am really starting to love the e-reader for books that I just want to read but don’t want to keep forever! Sort of like a television programme, you had fun and now that’s done. Some books like my reference books I want the hard back version, and like you, I am really finding that a good read, I want to curl up in a large chair, and just hug the book as I read it! I am seriously hoping that our world will find a place for both and that the e-reader will not kill the paper book in the end. Only time will time, and quite frankly, I don’t want to be around to see it! 🙂

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