And on the other hand...

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Monday, September 27, 2010

New Way of Reading

I'm not generally an early adopter of technology-- still don't have wireless in my house, have an analog landline I still use, not being phone- oriented enough to keep my cell fully charged, to say nothing of findable -- but I have become quite attached to my relatively new iPad. In five months, it has made my beloved MacBook Pro more or less obsolete for most of my purposes. Lonely laptop gets used mainly for watching DVDs, and managing my music and email. For the iPad, I have acquired lots of interesting apps, particularly several useful for Chinese language study. (I highly recommend the "train Chinese" apps and a searchable Chinese dictionary called Pleco. )

What I didn't expect to do was ever read a book on it. I never thought the Kindle was all that hot (being kind of Mac-prejudiced) and besides I have a love for ink, print and paper. And I live with a librarian; our home decor consists mainly of bookcases...lining the walls of every room of the apartment, including the bathrooms.

So I surprised myself recently to read "Brightsided: How Positive Thinking has Undermined America," through the Kindle app for the iPad (admittedly, fortune cookie-style, in bed), and it wasn't bad. I mean, the book was very good, and the experience of reading it that way was reasonably satisfying. The book explores the history of "positive thinking" through breast cancer awareness and cancer survivor programs, corporate cheerleading, prosperity gospel televangelism, and other annoying movements in post-9/11 America, including "positive psychology", also just profiled in Harper's Magazine, the paper copy of which I read concurrently with the e-book.

I'm normally regarded as a happy person, but I don't think of myself as all that positive, in a Pollyanna way. I enjoy my share of existential despair and am a practiced cynic. I just think of myself as a realist supported by the Tao. So it is ironic that a book about the downside of positive thinking got me over my negativity to e-books. At first I expected it to seem like work--I make a living by editing documents, usually in MS Word with "track changes" turned on, nobody uses red ink or blue pencil on paper anymore. (And one of the downsides of e-reading is not being able to underline and make little comments to myself...but wait, I am assured by other avid e-readers, you can do this, and SHARE the comments. But it's not the same experience.)


sybil law said...

I've always thought I would really miss the paper, myself, but I've been assured I wouldn't. I'm still skeptical, but you've made me think!

baroness radon said...

Well, there's no way I will give up the real book -- I have too much of a backlog in to-read piles --but maybe for a certain type of literature, and on-the-go accessibility, this delivers. Of course, I didn't think I could make the transition from LP to DVD...and now I download music from time to time. Although I still have all those old records and DVDs.

I have a couple friends though who are busy scanning all their paper to files, and one prefers audio books to reading...that scares me. You know, oral history (aural history) was really for cultures where most people were illiterate.

But in the end, it's the content that really matters anyway.

The Crow said...

I enjoy my share of existential despair and am a practiced cynic. I just think of myself as a realist supported by the Tao.

Haha :)
That's an amusing confession.
A taoist view makes even the most dire of circumstances seem merely interesting. A new opportunity to fail, hopefully in a less catastrophic way. Until failure blends imperceptibly into success.

Why is the Magician so named?
You don't have to say.

baroness radon said...

"There's no success like failure, and failure's no success at all."

The Crow said...

You have the finest selection of links I have ever seen.
Each one a weird adventure, down paths seldom seen, much less traveled.
Happy Jellyfish has to be an all-time favorite!
ZOMG tbh TYVM :)