Reviewing books on a Kindle - The Style Blog - The Washington Post

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A Book Reviewer Tries Reading On A Kindle

Ron Charles, fiction editor for the Washington Post, tried reading a review title on the Kindle for the first time, and wrote about the experience. He makes some very valid observations:

The problem... didn't become obvious until I finished and sat down to write a review.

Usually, I flip through the galley and my endnotes, looking for major points to emphasize and striking quotations to include. A simple but crude system of CAPS, arrows and underlining draws my eye to themes I thought were important. And, what's more, I have a spatial sense of the book's architecture in my mind.

Not here.

On the Kindle, each screen shot floats in space, isolated from the previous or subsequent ones, an effect that left my memory of the book weirdly nebulous. Alan Jacobs wrote an interesting essay in the New Atlantis last year about how the switch from scrolls to the codex 2,000 years ago enabled a different kind of thinking. But something about the switch from the codex to the e-book disabled mine.

My essential marginal notes were reduced to footnote numbers; I could click on each one to read it, but I couldn't scan them as I flipped through the pages; I couldn't watch the progression of my own reactions.

Mike told me how to print out my notes and highlights from my online Kindle account, but that produced 10 numbing pages of tightly spaced comments tied to screen-shot numbers: e.g. "The kiss hurt as much as the pains in her throat. Read more at location 1515."

I don't have a good sense of where "location 1515" is . . .

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This page contains a single entry by achuka published on November 14, 2012 7:11 AM.

Bookboard Wants to be Netflix for Children's E-Books | Complex was the previous entry in this blog.

Monica Edinger: Stop Calling Books for Kids 'Young Adult' is the next entry in this blog.

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