Book Trailer The Noble Train

Friday, February 10, 2012

On Franzens View of Ebooks

Jonathan Franzen doesn't like ebooks for their protean quality. They just don't seem permanent enough. Agreed. Books are meant to be permanent as are paintings. Once they are set in type so to speak they are there flaws and all. Fitzgerald certainly wanted another shot at Tender is the Night, putting that back story first but there you have it. And it would seem that the flickering screen of bits and bytes is impermanent and yes it does not have the heft of a book. But there are other issues.

I have read The Help, The Art of Fielding, The Marriage Plot (part of it) and A Christmas Story on my kindle. The experience was satisfactory but yes I did not have the sense of reading nor possessing a book. I read The New York  Times everyday on my Kindle. One reason is having it delivered is so expensive and the other is I tend to have my Kindle with me all the time and I can read it at will. But back to books. I have not downloaded any books since my  original three. Why? I fell off the Kindle wagon and jumped into the writing of a very large novel that is taking just about all my time and I have switched back to reading two large hardcovers that I had already possessed.

I don't have the same view of Ebooks as Jonathan but I get what he is saying. A book is a thing. A painting is a thing. A book is not a down loadable song. The texture of print changes with the medium and affects the experience of reading. It just does. Now as a writer I do not have the fan base of Mr Franzen. Not even close by a million, so I have to roll a little  more and if someone wants my books in an ebook, that is fine. But if you press me. I'll take a book over the type in my kindle.

Why wouldn't I when I can hold all that novelistic intent in my hand? The two books I am re-reading again and lugging all over Chicago in my backpack like two bricks: The Corrections and Freedom. I think that proves the point.

Books by William Hazelgrove