What are you e-reading, my e-reader really needs to know. (1 Viewer)


If u don't know the poetry u don't know Bukowski
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Having finally swallowed my pride I’ve started using a Kindle. I use it mostly for reading up on classics I hadn’t got around to yet. I also find it useful for short reading sessions, especially poems.
And it gives me a fresh sense of stuff I’ve read many times before. I find reading Buk’s poems via the Kindle lets me see them from a new angle. Maybe I know the paper books too well, notes and all. Reading Buk afresh, on the Kindle, has let me discover poems I’ve overlooked before.

There is something of worth here. A Kindle is, in a way, more like the spoken word than text on paper. It makes reading something slightly different. More mobile perhaps. More off the cuff. Spontanious. I don’t think it will ever replace paper, but it gives you the possibility of reading text in a different way. One example: Now I can sit in a pitch dark room and read on the Kindle Paperwhite. You can’t do that with paper. Another important thing is that it is so damn easy to sample books via an e-reader. I like the local bookshop as much as anyone, but its simply easier to browse books lounging in your “La-Z-Boy with a tony cocktail in your hand”. And finding things long out of print is possible too. Very nice. And all of the classics are available without having to put up new shelves in your lounge. Collected works taking a minimum of space is nice. If Buk had been alive I could even slip Proust under his door now... ;-)

Anyway, after the newness of the medium wears away you discover the same old thing: The main problem is getting hold of good content to put on the hardware. “Shakespeare’s Complete Works” isn’t simply his Complete Works. A good version has to be easy to browse and search through. And like the three important rules in real estate, what’s most important with an e-book is: “proof reading – proof reading – proof reading.” Editing is just as important as it ever was.

So I thought I’d start a thread to share good e-book reads. Preferably free ones. Here’s a recent find:

– Fernando Pessoa: “35 Sonnets”

This is a typical Kindle-find. I’d heard the name Pessoa on and off for decades, but never got round to looking him up. But snap-crackle-pop: there were his 35 Sonnets on my Kindle - for free. Sonnets are not my usual thing, but something here drew me in. I think it’s the sense of lucidness here, combined with hint of something less lucid, that got me hooked. Yeah. Here’s a sample:


We are born at sunset and we die ere morn,
And the whole darkness of the world we know,
How can we guess its truth, to darkness born,
The obscure consequence of absent glow?
Only the stars do teach us light. We grasp
Their scattered smallnesses with thoughts that stray,
And, though their eyes look through night's complete mask,
Yet they speak not the features of the day.
Why should these small denials of the whole
More than the black whole the pleased eyes attract?
Why what it calls «worth» does the captive soul
Add to the small and from the large detract?
So, put of light's love wishing it night's stretch,
A nightly thought of day we darkly reach.​

- Pessoa, Fernando António Nogueira. 35 Sonnets - Kindle Edition.

So: What are you e-reading, my e-reader really needs to know...
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I don’t think it will ever replace paper...
I think it will inevitably replace paper. Just based on the cost of production. And when it does, maybe the following problem will be less of a problem:
what’s most important with an e-book is: “proof reading – proof reading – proof reading.”
That's the thing that bothers me most (aside from not being able to read when the battery needs charging) - the fact that a lot of ebooks, even from big publishers - are sloppy. I suspect because most of them are converted automatically by some program that doesn't yet account for all of the weird little details possible in book text.

As for what I'm reading, I used to read a lot of biographies and autobiographies, and pre-Kindle I'd really stopped doing that. But probably half of the books on my Kindle (well, on the Kindle app on my Google Nexus tablet - Carol commandeered the Kindle) are bios. When I was young I read a lot more literature. Not so much anymore. Okay, not at all anymore. As age I find that I just want to be entertained or learn something new from a book.

Note to the publishers out there: I spend a lot more money on (non-Bukowski) books now than I ever did. I spend that money because it's easy to buy, the price point is usually insignificant enough to support impulse buys, and finally, because of previews. Maybe it's just me, but if I'm even vaguely interested in something and I read 20 pages of it, I want to read the rest, so I usually end up buying the book.

I joke with Carol that I am going to publish a novel via ebook and make the "preview" the entire book - with the exception of the last 20 pages. Because anyone who reads that far will probably pay to see how it ends.
I'm currently on my fourth kindle, which I use with great frequency to read books I won't re-read. Also use it to pay bills, and all that domestic shit. The reading in the dark is the biggest pro for me, but not having a page count
still irritates me. But for ease of use and portability, they're phenomenal. I use an ipad at work, and I like my kindle
better. Amazon as a company I have some serious issues with, but the customer service is unbeatable. I also seem to get a serious amount of life when fully charged.
Definitely the best bit is reading it in the dark:). I also get a bit disorientated about where I am in the book, when you can't physically see your progress with your dog ears, it's not the same, the end comes as a surprise sometimes.

I think perhaps the only format which might allow proper books to hang on by their fingernails is in the big, kitchen table sized reference books on any given topics; art, gardening etc. with the lovely glossy paper - hopefully.

Agree about some of the complete works - they're not!
The publisher Verso Books is giving away 6 interesting looking e-books for free - today only.
Alas one of them is not available in North Am.

Has anyone read any of these?

Thanks, I downloaded all of those, though I couldn't get what is probably the most interesting one. But they all seem like they're worth a look.

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