Paper books rool, OK!

One more advantage of paper books. Once upon a time before e-book readers, on an upcountry excursion in Burma, I was smitten with acute diarrhea in a land without toilet paper. But I was equipped with a fat paperback on Chinese history and politics. Over the next few days an assortment of conveyances jounced me along back-country roads as I attempted to learn about China fast enough to stay ahead of immediate needs for paper. I never did get to finish that book, but I sure was glad it was a lengthy bugger. (Though this was in a time before e-book readers, the story presents evidence for one more advantage of paper books over their digital counterparts.)

Artful entertainment at length. At 1,100 pages, David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest might appear even more suited to such journeys. But it resists reading at a pace that exceeds Burma Belly in full sprint. For sure it’s no print version of TV, no nicely narcotic diversion from life proper.

Infinite Jest demands attention and real engagement. Dare we say it’s art, rather than mere entertainment? Nevertheless, this book is certainly entertaining; in fact, it’s one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. It’s also science fiction, of sorts, though it doesn’t fall into any genre I recognize.

Tomorrow, sometime soon, whenever, I’ll use Infinite Jest to kick off a short discourse on “good writing style.” Good blogging style, meanwhile, suggests I should cease and desist for now, properly respectful of contemporary attention spans, besides which distractions of every digital species summon me away to other matters.

1 thought on “Paper books rool, OK!”

  1. From Facebook:

    Weereeya Tepsarn and Rob Alton like this.

    Susan Rose Martin
    Here’s one advantage paper books hold over electronic ones. If I want to find something and can’t think of a word to put in the search bar I have to scroll all the way through to find what I’m looking for, but with a hard copy I can just gauge the thickness and open the book to that section. For us right brains, the intuitive approach is sometimes the best!
    10 hours ago · Like

    Collin Piprell
    I agree. Maybe I’ll finally adapt, but, as much as I enjoy using my Kindle, and find it useful in reading books for information, I have yet to develop the kind of sense of the whole, and my current place in it, that I get with paper books.

    In any case, I’m pretty happy reading in both media, often at the same time, with books on the go every which way. My attention was already scrambled long before the advent of the digital.
    11 hours ago · Like

Comments are closed.