As I sat at my computer to write my Monday blog post, I was uncertain about my focus. Avoidance seemed like a good tactic until I could make up my mind what to write. In the meantime, what to do? Check email!
There were the usual posts from relatives and friends, but two emails set me thinking about reading and writing in the electronic age. They was just the inspiration I needed.
An Electronic Newsletter
The first was the August edition of the online newsletter Extra Innings. Of course, I had to check it out. Marshall Cook, a writing professor from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, used to publish Creativity Connection, which I learned about through one of his writing workshops. Since his recent retirement, he now publishes a free monthly online version.
Extra Innings is a fun and informative read. It features pointers to improve the craft of writing, inspiration to keep writers going, and bits of humor for those suffering from a bout of rejection letters. As I skimmed through the August 2010 topics, I noted that there was an article on writers’ block, researching and writing family history, advice from Garrison Keelor. As always, I found helpful material and a few good laughs. You may want to get on the mailing list and review the publication for yourself.
The Chronicle Review
The second email, forwarded to me by a relative, came from the Chronicle of Higher Education. The first article, “Do You Like Your E-Reader? Six Takes from Academics” by James O’Donnell of Georgetown University, attracted my attention. As the title suggests, professors at different universities weigh in on their use of e-readers. Here are some of their observations:
- Reading on a Kindle is like reading on papyrus. The experience is linear as it was for the Egyptians. Disappointingly, there are too few selections available.
- The Kindle is light, which makes it easier than carrying a load of hard bound or even paperback books, but few academic books are available as yet. The appliance is best for those who buy new books and discard them
- The iPad is sleek and has an annotation feature, which is a plus. On the downside, there is no copy/paste capability to allow for transferring notes taken during reading into a computer file.
- E-books are great, but they have not yet reached their potential. Developers may want to experiment with using technology for special effects, like making plots change based on the location of the reader, inserting video clips, digital maps, song fragments, or . . . You name it!
I don’t own a Kindle or an iPad, but I am toying with the idea of getting one. What about you? What is your thinking on e-format vs. hard copy?
Visit this site tomorrow to see what Open Salon readers have to say!
The Chronicle Review