Wednesday, January 16, 2008

a different kind of book

The past few days I haven't been reading many blogs, or commenting on the few I have read. Because during the time I usually read blogs I've been reading something else.

A book.

Online.

I feel a bit hypocritical. The Sergeant often pokes at me with comments about books being obsolete one day, that the printed page will be no more and all books will be read on computer screens. When he does that, of course to get a reaction out of me, I willingly oblige, and rant and rail about books needing to be held and felt and (in the case of "old" books) smelled. There needs to be the soft whisper of turning pages. I tell him my books will always stay on my shelves, except when I'm reading them, and that I will never give in even if no one else in the world has books.

But.

I wanted to read Pride and Prejudice. Since I am in Germany, I can't just run to my neighborhood bookstore to find a copy. And although they probably have a copy at the post library, it is often difficult for me to get on post, especially since we only have one car and walking up and down and up and down the hills while pushing a 17+ pound baby in a stroller is not something I try to do very often. Plus...I was impatient. Saturday I remembered reading that many classics have been typed out and are available to read online, so I looked it up. And I found it easily. Even as I started to read I didn't want to do it. It felt wrong. I shut down the program several times and walked away from the computer, but I kept going back. Just one chapter of the story and I had to read more. *sigh*

I have to say, however much I enjoyed the book (I just finished in the last hour), that I stand my my convictions that it is much, much better to read a "real" book. I couldn't read as long because it's not so easy on the eyes, plus it's not as easy to get comfortable with a laptop as with a paperback. No curling up with a computer! And I've been reading a "real" book along with Pride and Prejudice. I just couldn't go so long without a book in my hands!

But.

I want to read more Austen*.

And that means going back to my computer.


*Any suggestions on which to read next? I've been told Emma...

24 comments:

  1. I LOVE Jane Austen. LOVE. Emma is good. Persuasion is awesome. Sense and Sensibility is wonderful. I think Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey are weaker. Still wonderful, but weaker. P&P is my absolute favorite, but S&S is my second. I know a lot of people insist that Persuasion is the best.

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  2. I agree with you whole heartedly, but I understand the need to read a book NOW! Have you heard of the Kindle, Amazon's wireless reading device? Then you don't have to sit at a computer although it's still an electronic screen. But you can download tons of books to it.

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  3. I liked all her books. Even took a Jane Austen Seminar way back when at University.

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  4. Good for you! SusieJ, ADHD Remedies I should do that too-- I miss Austen.

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  5. wow. impressive. ive been so busy with rehearsals that I've only read about 2 more chapters since I started Emma last week.

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  6. I see what you mean...it's not as if you can lie down on the couch with a blanket, pillow and your computer...

    How about the German libraries - they should have an English section. I am sure Austen will be represented in any library of a decent size.

    Heidi

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  7. I love the smell of old books, the sound of a turning page and the ability to cuddle under a warm blanket it bed and travel to a far away place. I dont thing many people would give that up for a computer screen. Would they?

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  8. SJSFalter+: I won't!! Not completely, anyway. But I've given in to the idea of reading a few chapters a day on my computer screen... :)

    I'm hope I'm not conveying the idea that I think people should give up books. That thought gives me nightmares! But I do like that there is easy access to classics like Austen and such. It was an interesting experience.

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  9. Emma or Sense & Sensibility.

    I am torn. I agree about books being held and felt and smelled. BUT, oh, the trees. The TREES!

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  10. I haven't read any Austen so I'm not a good person to give advice here. I love the movie Sense & Sensibility.
    I'd be happy to pick up a copy of a book for you and ship it but it'd take a long time to get to Germany, huh? :(
    I definitely agree with you on the holding, touching, smelling of books. I feel bad that it kills trees but I recycle them so hopefully that helps.
    I hope books won't be obsolete one day but if they are, the 82 on my bookshelves will keep me busy for awhile, I s'pose. :)

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  11. I'm totally with you about holding and feeling a book. But when you gotta have it, ya gotta have it. =)

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  12. A friend of mine and I were just talking yesterday about whether newspapers, books and magazines will ever become obsolete - we didn't think so. It's just nice to be able to carry the copy with you - wherever and curl up with it or have it beside you at a doctor appt. or whatever. I'm glad you enjoyed this online experience and this book. We have watched that movie over and over - over the past several months - my girls and I love it! Take care and see you soon. Kellan

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  13. I *love* Emma as well...

    And I so admire you for reading it on the computer--my eyes would go fuzzy in no time, and my patience, I'm sure, would have gone right out the window...!

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  14. I am so with you: there is just something about holding onto that book and caressing the pages. And the bookshelves! What an awful day if those beautiful book-filled shelves were to ever disappear!

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  15. I haven't read Persuasion, but now I think I might.

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  16. Give up books? Can you imagine? I shutter.

    Sense and Sensibility a must read after P&P.

    Oh, to have the time to read. I need my three kids to start school ASAP so I can catch up!

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  17. I can't say which Austen novel to read next since I haven't read any, but being in Germany and wanting to read English novels does not mean you have to read it on your computer screen - it means you order them from Amazon.de - they come right to your doorstep.

    I'm reading English books almost exclusively and have more of them than the local bookstore.

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  18. There will always be a special place for books. It's that feeling you get when you walk into a book store. Can't explain it, but the computer will never take away the need for books.

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  19. Jennifer (from Faking It. Blogger won't let me sign in. *sigh*January 18, 2008 at 10:05 PM

    I keep hearing about book-reading online. I can't see doing it myself, as I do most of my reading at night before bed. Though if I got a laptop... :)

    Enjoy!

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  20. Huh. I don't know that I would enjoy reading a book online. I love holding books in my hands.I like the feel of the paper...I'm a freak like this. I should try sometime...

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  21. There is something about the tactileness of a book that heightens my enjoyment. PBS's Masterpeice theatre is running a series of Austen-inspired movies. I'm very excited. Last week was Persuasion -- I was in heaven.

    I can't read back to back Austen books. Otherwise I start channeling the Bennetts in my writing and speaking style. It is a curse. Upon my word. It is most vexing for the husband who in turn becomes quite quarrelsome.

    Have you read anything by Edith Wharton? And my fave is the very obscure Olivia Manning.

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  22. Ohh I loved Emma...although I love Emma, in book form, while lying in front of a fire and eating an apple.

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  23. Reading? With a 7 month old? I have ASSIGNED reading (in law school) with my 5 month old and I still can't manage to do it . . I'm impressed.

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