Book v kindle: let’s have a pointless debate

1 03 2012

Does it matter?
No. I still like books but now prefer to read most things on the iPad. So why are people getting quite so exercised about it? It really isn’t the end of civilisation.

Ye olde books

Tim Parks in the New York Review of Books offers a thorough and utterly sensible commentary on ebooks and concludes:

The e-book, by eliminating all variations in the appearance and weight of the material object we hold in our hand and by discouraging anything but our focus on where we are in the sequence of words (the page once read disappears, the page to come has yet to appear) would seem to bring us closer than the paper book to the essence of the literary experience. Certainly it offers a more austere, direct engagement with the words appearing before us and disappearing behind us than the traditional paper book offers, giving no fetishistic gratification as we cover our walls with famous names. It is as if one had been freed from everything extraneous and distracting surrounding the text to focus on the pleasure of the words themselves. In this sense the passage from paper to e-book is not unlike the moment when we passed from illustrated children’s books to the adult version of the page that is only text. This is a medium for grown-ups.

The end of civilisation

It’s a powerful and compelling argument and really difficult to disagree with. The debate really is pointless. So can we move on now please?

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Norwich City top of the league?

30 12 2011

The dangers of fantasy football

The bargain of FIFA 12 for iPad proved irresistible as a Christmas gift to self (at 69p) and has delivered top drawer entertainment over the festive period. Using the easy setting have now got into the following, rather unbelievable, league position:

20111230-074837.jpg

And, having failed to let that lead slip, the final result was a first for the Canaries:

Well, it might happen one day. Just hope it’s not tempting fate.





Only human

19 05 2011

Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham

Review from Good Reads:

‘It is very difficult for a writer of my generation, if he is honest, to pretend indifference to the work of Somerset Maugham,’ wrote Gore Vidal. ‘He was always so entirely there.’ Originally published in 1915, Of Human Bondage is a potent expression of the power of sexual obsession and of modern man’s yearning for freedom. This classic bildungsroman tells the story of Philip Carey, a sensitive boy born with a clubfoot who is orphaned and raised by a religious aunt and uncle. Philip yearns for adventure, and at eighteen leaves home, eventually pursuing a career as an artist in Paris. When he returns to London to study medicine, he meets the androgynous but alluring Mildred and begins a doomed love affair that will change the course of his life. There is no more powerful story of sexual infatuation, of human longing for connection and freedom. ‘Here is a novel of the utmost importance,’ wrote Theodore Dreiser on publication. ‘It is a beacon of light by which the wanderer may be guided. . . . One feels as though one were sitting before a splendid Shiraz of priceless texture and intricate weave, admiring, feeling, responding sensually to its colors and tones.’

Nothing quite like a classic Bildungsroman and have to say that this is really one of the best. A compelling read and a reminder of just what a great writer Maugham was. Had been waiting for a decent holiday to read it having unaccountably avoided for years (probably because I had such a tatty copy) and really glad I finally got round to. Can’t recommend too highly.








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