I like them on my wall
I like them in my hand
(I like them in the bathroom)
I like them on my H: drive
I like them in the car
I like them in a queue
I like them on my laptop
I like them on a shelf
I like them on my keychain
I like them in a library
I like them in English
I like them in bed
I like them on my netbook
I’d like them on a slate, but they’re too heavy.
What is a “real” book, anyway?
“Real” book. As if reading words and being entertained and/or instructed isn’t the point of the damn thing.
I want to talk about LDS fiction, the kind Deseret Book and Covenant and Cedar Fort publish.
This is not a rant. I’m not being sarcastic, nasty, snarky, hateful, bitter, or any other pejorative one might chalk up to my tone. Whatever one might read into it, what I’m feeling right now is a deep sense of disappointment.
I have several LDS novels in my bookshelf by well-known LDS niche authors. There are two I have tried to start, but while the premises are interesting, they aren’t exactly my cuppa. The prose is adequate. They aren’t boring. I put them aside for when I’m in the mindset to read them.
This past week I started a book that’s right up my alley: contemporary romance. I was really looking forward to reading this book. Imagine my dismay when I started reading prose that is amateurish at worst, and at best, suited for 12-year-old girls. It is a series of choppy sentences strung together. There is no discernible rhythm to it. There is no ebb and flow. The dialogue is stilted and too infodumpy about LDS customs and rituals, which made me wonder for whom the book was intended, if not LDS. (We already know this stuff; don’t instruct us in our own culture.) There is no nuance, no allowance for a sophisticated reader, no subtext.
At the convergence of this post on the Association for Mormon Letters blog by Annette Lyon concerning the “clean”ness of books and an inability to find any clean romances in the national marketplace* and my soul-deep disappointment in the book I was struggling with (“soul-deep” is not hyperbole), I realized that LDS fiction needs to stop worrying about a book’s “clean”ness, because that’s the default position, and start concentrating on eradicating (sub)mediocrity.
*I’m not sure why it’s important, noteworthy, or desirable to have LDS fiction without LDS characters or anything relatable to the culture. You can get “clean” non-LDS fiction in the national marketplace. You cannot get LDS fiction in the national marketplace. If you’re gonna be niche, be niche.
1. Make a concerted effort to contact the authors of books I enjoy and tell them that, and why.
I only know how wonderful it makes me feel when someone took the time to email me and tell me that they enjoyed one or both of my books and why. I can’t imagine any other author wouldn’t like it as much as I do.
2. Seek out and read more independently published work.
I think I have a skewed view of self-publishing, since I came to this via really good writers who decided to self-publish. Thus, I’ve never encountered this mythical slush pile of dreck I keep hearing about. Maybe I’ll find some, and maybe I’ll let you know if I do. Or not.
Can we find a word other than “book” as a descriptive for the digital version of glue-and-paper? The word “book” is way too loaded for those who profess a love of “that new book smell” and their reactionary hatred of digital delivery.
Print books and digital book are two completely different species. They don’t have to compete. They shouldn’t try to compete. Yes, the content is the same. Yes, the delivery system makes all the difference in the reading experience.
Consider the reading evolution:
Handhewn tablet → papyrus scroll → parchment leaves → illuminated manuscripts → Gutenberg Bible → mass market paperback → computer.
None of those are the same epistemologically or anatomically, so why is the progression to reading digitized text on a handheld device difficult to accept?
Just as a tablet is not a scroll, and a scroll is not an illuminated bundle of leaves, and an illuminated bundle of leaves is not a ream of paper saddlestitched and bound in leather. It is an electronic method of getting to text.
An ebook is not supposed to be like a printed book. Expecting it to be invites frustration on everybody’s part, and completely misses the point
I haven’t used my eBookWise in a while. I’ve been reading *gasp* paper and on my Asus EeePC in my recliner. So last night I went back to my eBookWise.
It’s cold here (well, for early October, it is). It was toasty warm in my bed. I ducked under the covers and read my eBookWise, holding it in one hand (and the ergonomics on this are prescient).
I could not do that with the Asus.