Critical Section

reading an actual book

Sunday,  08/08/10  10:11 AM

Kindle vs actual booksOn this rather perfect morning - coffee and eggs on the balcony, sun shining, air still, with a hint of breeze to come, and with NO leaf blowers or other disturbances in the force - I am amazed to report I am reading an actual book.  This came about a couple of weeks ago, when I accidentally allowed my Kindle's battery to run down; heading off to bed, I picked up The Last Theorem in physical book form, and enjoyed it.  Of course I didn't take it with me on my recent travels, so I Kindled All Tomorrow's Parties (yet another William Gibson tour de force; man, he writes so incredibly well it makes me jealous).  I finished that yesterday, and so have returned to The Last Theorem.

Gödel, Escher, BackThere are many advantages to reading on the Kindle, but there is one huge disadvantage; actual books have actual formatting, with page layouts, headlines, fonts, diagrams, pictures, etc.  On the Kindle every book looks the same, with the Kindle layout, fonts, etc.  This doesn't matter so much with a novel like All Tomorrow's Parties, but for others it would make a huge difference.  Consider Gödel Escher Bach, my favorite book ever; Douglas Hofstadter lovingly crafted the form as well as the content - in 1979, pre- WYSIWYG word processors - in line with the book's message about communications on multiple levels.  It would lose a lot in a generic presentation like Kindle's.  (Amazon is not presently selling a Kindle version of GEB.)  This limitation on formatting is holding back adoption of textbooks on the Kindle as well.  Eventually a more HTML-like format will have to be adopted for e-books; that would make books' data content larger, but would enable a wider range of content to be adapted.  I wonder if that happens already on the iPad with iBooks?  Must investigate...

Despicable Me: the reading of Three KittensI know you are all dying to find out my *second* favorite part of Despicable Me, the first being of course the roller coaster ride.  I think it was the reading of the Three Little Kittens book, emotionally pitch-perfect.  I will say this movie hasn't stayed with me like, say, Up! or The Incredibles, admittedly a high standard.  It was good but not great.

Other things of note this morning:

Have a great Sunday!

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