E-books and reading

Continuing the some-time, occasional, here-and-there thread on ebooks and their effect on how we read . . .

Tim Parks in The NY Review of Books contends that e-books may be the purest form of reading:

The e-book, by eliminating all variations in the appearance and weight of the material object we hold in our hand and by discouraging anything but our focus on where we are in the sequence of words (the page once read disappears, the page to come has yet to appear) would seem to bring us closer than the paper book to the essence of the literary experience. Certainly it offers a more austere, direct engagement with the words appearing before us and disappearing behind us than the traditional paper book offers, giving no fetishistic gratification as we cover our walls with famous names. It is as if one had been freed from everything extraneous and distracting surrounding the text to focus on the pleasure of the words themselves. In this sense the passage from paper to e-book is not unlike the moment when we passed from illustrated children’s books to the adult version of the page that is only text. This is a medium for grown-ups. 
Blog entry here.

One thing that I have noticed - e-book readers seem to encourage speed reading, at least for me. I find myself almost racing through texts, skipping chunks of description and dialogue. Maybe it's just the kind of books I'm looking at, maybe it's an occupational hazard, but I find it more and more necessary to remind myself to stop and read what I'm reading.

And since we're talking about reading:  Here's an article that says reading fiction is actually good for you; the nuns would have been appalled.

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