Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What are you reading?

I read all the time.It's what writers do.

So when I was asked recently about favorite authors, I was chagrined to completely blank out on names.

After a beat, I was able to recall several of my must-read contributors to The New Yorker: Atul Gawande, Malcolm Gladwell, Jonathan Franzen.

Even as I was explaining that I have no favorite genre or writer, that I read broadly and across cultures, I could not retrieve the author's name of the book I was currently reading.

Then the reason for my lapse hit me.

I have been reading on my Kindle.

If I had been reading a hardcover book, I would see the title and author's name on a boldly designed cover every time I passed it by.

My Kindle is like a TV. When it's off, the screen is blank.

Even when I turn it on, it opens to the page where I left off.

The title of the book appears at the top of the page -- that is, most of the title. With the popular Elizabeth Gilbert book, I just see Eat, Pray, Love: One Woma...

The author's name never appears, except on the Home screen.

So even though I am now deep into Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, I doubt I could instantly recall his name tomorrow.

I still love my Kindle for its convenience when traveling, the ability to download trial chapters before buying, ease of searching for and buying new books. But I also love physical books for a whole bunch of reasons (see a previous post, More books please).

I guess what I really love is the content, not the format, even if I have trouble remembering the author's name.

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