January 28, 2012

The Old Gray Lady


Six...hundred.....and ninety four....pages. Who can read 694 pages in one day? Yet, if you want to keep up with the 106 Pulitzer prize winning, founded in 1851, largest metropolitan newspaper in the United States, you must.

The chalky black ink that gets on everything and anything and the cumbersomely large pages have kept me away for years. Occasionally, my nosiness and desire to know everything will get the best of me and I will pay the $2 and some cents for a single copy. Only to read a few pages. I was over the moon when I saw an offer for a clean, non ink, free, 14-day trial subscription on the nook.

I tapped all the right buttons and in a matter of mere moments I had the January 28, 2012 edition at my fingertips. I scanned through the contents to comprehend how this digital version would present content. It was refreshingly well organized and easy to navigate. I thumbed through each section and each article. About 10 minutes later I found myself at page 694. I looked over to my husband and said, "There is just no way. How can you fully read about the world and be participatory?"

This volume of words is not even considering the other papers I like to browse; The Washington Post, The LA Times, The Times (London), Art News (online), and all the other solely online news outlets (such as The Huffington Post).

I, along with 30 million others, take advantage of the free online access to a selection of articles, opinion editorials, blogs and the like. However, while light users, those pursuing the pages with a reading rate of only 20 articles per month, can access the online content for free, we more avid readers hit a very prohibitive paywall (installed in 2011).

I have read only 5 - 6 articles today. I shall continue with my free subscription for the remaining 13 days. Most likely I will not pay for a full subscription. I simply do not have the time. If I am feeling particularly literate on a given day I might purchase the paper of that day. But for now, I will accept my limits.

The New York Times does truly contain all the news that is fit to print and I absolutely love her! Even if I find her to be overwhelming verbose (in a good way).

January 15, 2012

My Relationship With Literature

After much opposition and hesitation I purchased my first e-reading device. Being a Libra, I weighed all of my options very carefully. Judging by multi-media advertisements, friends' stories and fawning remarks, and news articles, the nook by Barnes and Noble and the Kindle by Amazon were the two contenders.

I had many concerns as I watched a product video where a 30-something, friendly, over accommodating woman on the Barnes and Noble website explained how great their e-reader was. She was overjoyed by the simplicity of its function; the portability of her literary library; and the numerous ways it can entertain through apps and other special functions. In all honesty I was searching for reassurance that this was the right purchase for me.

My concerns were not quite addressed in all these accolades from friends and product-pushing-ladies on internet videos. My opposition and hesitation resulted from a concern with the evolution/change in my relationship to literature. I must confess, in hindsight I was not being very open minded. My relationship to literature has always been punctuated by a comfy couch or chair, a super soft pillow, a warm cup of tea or hot chocolate, and a lovely, flexible book. The mild aroma of the paper and ink, the soft rustling noises the pages make as I slowly turn them, and the sound of my finger tip grazing the page were all things I knew an e-reader could never give me. Because of those tactile sensations, I refused to accept an e-reader.

My mind began to waiver when my father handed me 2, very heavy, boxes of books as I left his house one day. He said that there were many more like that in the basement. I went to take a look. Sure enough, there were MANY large boxes filled with novels and art theory books that I had once read. Oh boy...was that a wake up call. My research began soon thereafter.

My husband has a nook and loves it. Even though I've heard their praises before, I asked friends and family which e-reader they owned and if and why they loved it so much. Many were excited to talk about them and even brought them to my house or my office just to show me how great it was. "Yeah..." I would say, "But it is a screen....." I couldn't imagine that this screen could give me the same sense of calm that a page of a book could. Boy was I wrong.

Once I learned that I could borrow e-books from my local library I knew I needed one. That convenience more or less solidified my decision. Of course, now that I knew I wanted an e-reader I had to find the right one. Since many of my friends have a nook I decided to go with that brand. I decided that the nook tablet would be the best choice for me. I excitedly drove to Barnes and Noble the next week to make my purchase.

After less than 24 hours of owning my e-reader I was a changed lady. I adore it! Just like those video-product-ladies, I love the portability, the vastness of space to store books and the adorable, bright pink cover that protects my new library. I can search for independent authors and buy their books for cheap ($1.06 in fact!) . As for the screen...it doesn't even phase me. My eyes are not strained one bit. I love it so much that I began this post with the title, The Ever So Lovely E-Reader. However, as I wrote I realized it was not just about the device, but rather my relationship with books that was changed. I am now reading more since it is so convenient to find books that I love...oh yeah, did I mention that Barnes and Noble gives you recommendations based on previous book purchases?

I am a changed literary lady!