Monday, June 6, 2011

The Words Speak for Themselves

I am reading a book on my kindle called Bound to :Last: 30 Writers on Their Most Beloved books. In each chapter an author discusses his or her fondness for a particular book. Francine Prose focuses on the illustrations of a children’s book, while Ray Bradbury recounts a tale of how his adored aunt forced him to read )and love) Edgar Allen Poe. Each of the thirty authors in this book mentions the weight, texture, smell, and aesthetic of his or her favorite book. The irony that I am reading about books on an e-reader is not lost on me. Every book I read on my kindle weighs and smells the same. I can change the font size, and “book mark” electronically, but essentially every book I read on kindle looks the same. There are no slick, sexy covers, velvety pages, or color photos to grab my eye. If there are pictures in the book, on a kindle they resemble photos that survived a flood. So in order for a book to be memorable on an e-reader, the words have to matter. Books published on e-readers need to be better than those in print, so perhaps electronic publishing will raise the stakes, forcing writers to stick to telling us a really, really good story.

Here is a quote from another book I am reading (on my kindle.) "Grammar is like the air: someone higher up might try to set rules for using it, but won't necessarily follow the rules." from The Wind Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami

Happy Writing.

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