Can anything improve on the book?

31 Jul

Absolutely not.

But that Kindle article did have a few good things to say about iPhone reading, which led me to discover this beaut: Eucalyptus is an application that gives you unfettered access to books that are publicly available via the Guttenberg Project. It is lovely. I left my books at home, and on the train today, started F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short stories Flappers and Philosophers. I was able to read the first one between two subway rides. The tale was absolutely charming, and the language, of course, amazing.

More importantly, the experience of reading on the iPhone was pleasurable. The brilliance lies in its simplicity: instead of having a fancy technology to imitate the way letters fall out on a page, it simply uses scans of pages. So it really looks like a book. And the tiny pages have numbers, and you can actually turn them by swiping your finger across the screen n a motion that causes the effects of a normal page turn. I’m really happy with this. Obviously, nothing is better than ink and paper, but as for reading off a screen, this experience is great. (But it means I’m in the middle of one more book and thus progressing at a 1/4 slower speed. But I’m sticking to my guns anyway–slow reading is better reading).

Whew. I am so exhausted after today’s fast. And I was exhausted to begin with from a long, rainy work day yesterday, trying to figure out what happened to the poor engineer who was hit by a huge branch in Central park. It’s simply tragic. Today, the News reported that his mother said he’s improving slowly, so that’s good. My best wishes to Sasha and his family.

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2 Responses to “Can anything improve on the book?”

  1. chadoates July 31, 2009 at 6:06 pm #

    I have to admit I’ve never used an iTouch for book reading, but e-books have left a bit of a bitter taste, they’re just not the same as actually being able to hold and read the book

    • bookishjoy July 31, 2009 at 6:08 pm #

      Right–I wasn’t saying it’s the same thing (I will always be a sucker for ink on paper), but as a substitute, and as a tiny object that can display thousands of pages, it’s really not that bad.

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