Monday, January 12, 2009

Dickens on the Kindle

Christine Rosen tried Nicholas Nickleby on the Kindle:

Although mildly disorienting at first, I quickly adjusted to the Kindle’s screen and mastered the scroll and page-turn buttons. Nevertheless, my eyes were restless and jumped around as they do when I try to read for a sustained time on the computer. Distractions abounded. I looked up Dickens on Wikipedia, then jumped straight down the Internet rabbit hole following a link about a Dickens short story, “Mugby Junction.” Twenty minutes later I still hadn’t returned to my reading of Nickleby on the Kindle. . . .

We are so eager to explore what these new devices do — particularly what they do better than the printed book — that we ignore the more rudimentary but important human questions: the tactile pleasures of the printed page versus the screen; the new risks of distraction posed by a device with a wireless Internet connection; the difference between reading a book in two-page spreads and reading a story on one flashing screen-display after another. Kindle and other e-readers are marvelous technologies of convenience, but they are no replacement for the book.

People of the Screen (The New Atlantis)

comments: 2

DF said...

Michael and Orange Crate readers, As we continue observing the evolution of reading, I've got a blog post up on serialized novels on the Internet. Would love your input:

http://myth.typepad.com/breakfast/2009/01/fiction-in-the-digital-age.html

DF said...

Also, on this post: I would be wary of trying to read Dickens on the Kindle, and making any conclusions about the Kindle itself from that experience.

Dickens is tough enough to read in codex style, much less electronically. On a whim I bought David Copperfield a few years ago-- several hundred pages in tiny print, in order to make the paperback manageable-- and though it was really good, I found it tough going at times.