On e-Reading

On e-Reading

Melissa Wiley asks a fascinating question: How Does E-Reading Affect the Reader?

I�m afraid reading The Chosen One on my Touch may have affected my experience of the book. I know it affected my feelings about the book�s ending, because I was stunned when I realized I had reached the end. It didn�t feel finished. I kept flicking and flicking to get the page to turn, but there was nothing but a blank white screen.

I�ve had this happen with e-books before. I think our minds are trained to interpret the pacing and arc of a book in the context of how much book is left to read. Now and then, I�ve read a book which I thought had twenty or thirty pages left to go, and it was a mental jolt to discover an appendix or afterword occupying those pages, so that the story ended long before I was expecting it to. On an e-reader, that is always the experience, unless I remember to check the total page count and pay attention to how far along I am.

I’ve never used a Kindle, though Dom tried one out for a while and loved it. I have read novels on my laptop, though. It’s an interesting question: as we move more and more to reading on non-paper formats, how does the physical medium in which we encounter a book or other text affect the way in which we read?

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  • “And then a siren sounded and Isabella began belting out a Hail Mary at an auctioneer’s pace while Sophie folded her hands together solemnly and I saw her mouth the words, Hail Mary in the breathless whisper I’ve seen her use for prayers.”

    That is unbelievably cute!

  • Yeah, one of those moments I so wished I could have caught on film, but kids never cooperate, words will have to do.