People who have been within a 20′ radius of me know that I have been reading David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, an extremely strange post-modern 1200 page book. I will write a review and some thoughts on the book when I have more time (and boy do I have thoughts on said book which rivals Neal Stephenson for non-ending endings) but this is about the accomplishment: I have not been able to read a book of that significant length in years, and not since Katie arrived.
While I am not 100% sold on e-books, and it will take another decade to ween me off the idea that books should have a distinctive smell*, the Kindle, being light, thin, and can fit into my purse without any hassle, has meant a return to reading again — at least for me. I have always preferred GRAND EPICS of EPICNESS to short books and the weight simply became prohibitive.
This makes me think a bit more about the arguments on how e-books are killing reading or killing readership. I am left unconvinced and cold. A book != a tv show. A book is fundamentally better. I’ve found that the portability tradeoffs are allowing me to read more than I have in years. I only have a datapoint of one, but I am beginning to suspect Someone is Wrong on the Internet.
Anyway, I find I can heartily endorse the Kindle for reading ridiculously long books. A good translation of Brothers Karamazov** (Bantam Books) has now appeared there so I can enjoy the long metaphysical, religious, and fundamentally strange discussions between the atheist brother Ivan and the pious brother Alyosha. I was struggling with a bad translation from the Russian. Dostoevsky is a major guilty pleasure and the Kindle is giving me more opportunity to cram it into the little cracks of free time in my life.
* I always associate Stephen King’s The Stand with a very pagey sort of smell.
** I will never be on a first name basis with Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoevsky. I won’t even get to Fyodor M. Sadness.