Making the List

k0091272Although I faithfully note new books I want to read,  I can never be number one on the library wait list.  It doesn’t help that the book is not yet listed when I log in, anxious to find it.  It doesn’t help that the library “wish list” can only include books in cataloguing.  Mostly, it doesn’t help that I forget about the book until I see another ad or review – usually weeks later.  By then, other more diligent readers have already ordered the book, and I am number 198 for the new Jeffrey Archer, or 20 for Donna Leon’s new mystery, and still holding at 14 for The Luminaries.   Is it any wonder that my electronic book bill has soared?  Sometimes, I just can’t wait.

A friend recently sent me an article from the Washington Post about the slow-reading movement and the effects of digital reading on the brain – Serious Reading Takes A Hit from Online Scanning and Skimming.  It struck me as I “skimmed” the article that library users may be promoters of this movement, sometimes forcing me to revert to digital text that may be eroding what is left of my brain.  Michael Rosenwald writes in the Post:

Before the Internet, the brain read mostly in linear ways — one page led to the next page, and so on… Reading in print even gave us a remarkable ability to remember where key information was in a book simply by the layout…We’d know a protagonist died on the page with the two long paragraphs after the page with all that dialogue.

The Internet is different. With so much information, hyperlinked text, videos alongside words and interactivity everywhere, our brains form shortcuts to deal with it all — scanning, searching for key words, scrolling up and down quickly. This is nonlinear reading…

Will we become Twitter brains?”

I worry that books will disappear – like bookstores.  I happily still prefer holding the pages and flipping back to remember who died – harder to do on an e-book, even with those red bookmarks.  But when the wait is long, and the price is right, those electronic books fill my need every time.   How about you?




Enhanced by Zemanta

6 thoughts on “Making the List

  1. This is a great question. I almost never buy books – I’m a library girl and so am used to not getting the latest books. However, my boys bought me a Kobo Aura HD reader for my birthday this year, as they love to get me gadgets. I’ve used it for a few books now. I think I’ll be back and forth a lot, depending on which I can get from the library first. We have a very good online library system, but the wait lists are longer, I think people don’t realize they can ‘return’ a book when they have finished reading it just as they can with a physical book – they don’t have to wait for them to disappear. Would get them back into the system faster. The Kobo will be brilliant for camping trips, when I usually need to take at least one large shopping bag full of books. I do like that it is easier to hold than a large hard cover. However for me the value is in the story, and it reads the same. I have to admit, I’ve liked being able to mark a passage or phrase for later, a nice feature that stops me from earmarking a physical page.
    I could keep going but I’ll stop here!

    • I had not seen the Kobo, so you motivated me to find it. I have a kindle paperwhite, mostly because I can download books from the library. But I have an app on my iPhone that grabs the Kindle books. I like reading on my phone better – maybe because I usually have it with me. I can relate to not being able to earmark a physical page – one of my many weaknesses. I’m not as tempted to mark or note the electronic page.

  2. I download samples when they’re available on my Kindle. If I love the sample so much I can’t wait to read on, I buy it on my Kindle, but I always have a TBR list that goes with me to the bookstore. I’ve also been known to buy the book after I’ve read it on the Kindle, just because I want a hard copy. I never get library books because it kind of creeps me out not to know who/how the book has been handled.

  3. Oh, boy, I feel your pain! The nearest bookstore to our house is 45 minutes away, and the village libraries, though charming, have few holdings and long waiting lists. Hence my addiction to my Kindle. It’s not as bad as the internet, with all those links and distractions, but you can’t page back and forth as with a book. On the other hand, it’s easy on the eyes, and doesn’t take up space on my shelves.

Comments are closed.