Thursday, March 19, 2009

The e-books saga continues

I don’t own an iPhone but I do own a Touch, which is exactly like the iPhone without the phone. Which means that I can, for free, download the application that Amazon uses on its Kindle 2 “Wireless Reading Device.” In other words, I’ve had a smaller version of the Kindle in my pocket all this time, and I just didn’t know it.

To be honest, though, I do have some book material on my Touch already. I have an application called Stanza, for which I acquired some classics (they have a lot of free public domain books available). The one I actually tried to read was Leaves of Grass because for some reason looking at poetry seemed more likely than attempting to read a novel. And I will admit that Walt Whitman is one of those mountains I have never climbed, despite being an English major and a pretty inveterate reader.

The verdict? It’s hard to say. I’ve tried it a number of times, and made some progress, but I haven’t gotten very far. The question is, is it because I just don’t care much for Leaves of Grass—I’ve tried to read it in the past, on paper, and I’ve always failed there too—or I haven’t enjoyed the Touch reading experience? It is 2 inches by 3 inches, after all. That’s smaller than a basic paperback book. A lot smaller.

I have some weighty tomes in addition to the Whitman. For instance, for reasons that elude me now I also downloaded Plato’s Republic at some point. There’s a page-turner to keep you reading into the wee hours. What I need to do is find a regular book and give that a shot. Maybe Dickens for instance (I love Dickens). If something guaranteed to satisfy doesn’t satisfy, then the problem probably is the medium and not the message.

I’ll let you know.