NYT: ‘The Way We Read Now’

Love this essay from Dwight Garner, a book critic for the New York Times: The Way We Read Now. I kind of have a hate-distrust-distain relationship with any form of e-readers, but this is a particularly (and balanced) perspective on everything from Kindles to reading on our smartphones.

My favorite quotes:

The one bit of verse that charmed me, when read on the iPad, was Clive James’s brilliant and witty “The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered.” This poem forces you to wonder: What will remainders look like in our digital future? Where’s the 99-cents bin going to be?

You can’t read an e-book in the tub. You can’t fling one across the room, aiming, as Mark Twain liked to do, at a cat. And e-books will not furnish a room.

Writing in The Times in 1991, Anna Quindlen declared, “I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.”I am so down with that. But it’s the mental furniture that matters.

Ben Franklin would have liked this palm-size medium (the smartphone). He’s the founding father who said, “Read much, but not too many books.”

Books used to pile up by my bedside; sometimes it now seems that gadgets do, the standby power of their LED lights staring at me like unfed dogs.

And my favorite:

More fetching than a girl with a dragon tattoo has always been a girl with a Penguin Classic. With e-books, you have no idea what anyone is reading. This is an incalculable loss, not just to fleeting crushes but to civilization.


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