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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Reading Huckleberry Finn on a Kindle

It doesn't work. Sorry. I tried. But there are some books that have to be read in paper. I read to half and put it down. Of course I have read the book many times but I wanted to dip back in and I had it on the Kindle and nah. Didn't work. And why didn't it work. It is lighter. It is more convenient. Hell I can even read it in the bathtub with the cat swimming around. Of course one false move and so much for the kindle and the cat. But the biggest reason I could not read Twain's classic in a mini computer format was because the story did not fit the form.

And here is where Jeff Bezos meets the road. Literature is an art all rankings aside. There are other considerations than how many units can be moved and all the digital BS in the world will not change the fact that the immutability of art trumps commerce. It always has. Why do billionaires buy paintings and pay millions for them. Not because of the investment...it is because they want to own art. Something that can not be bought. It is the eternal that makes money seem small and art if it is any good is all about the eternal.

And so it is with Huckleberry Finn. You cannot read about Huck and Jim floating down the river on a flickering screen. Twain did not intend it that way nor did history. Those old crackly pulped pages must turn again for you to hear the splash of that raft and Jim musings on the cosmos and Hucks hard headed deliverance. So I turn back against form and go for content.

Style over substance loses out and the pulp litters the water while the cat swims.

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Books by William Hazelgrove