Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Technology Changed How I Read

This week I have been reading an old-fashioned paper book. (The Martian – outstanding read) For the last two years most of my reading has been on my Kindle. I love my Kindle. I didn’t realize quite how much it changed things for me until I started reading the “dead tree” book though.

There are a couple of game changers for me in the Kindle. One is the obvious fact that if I read a book that is part of a series and I like it I can order the rest of the books and start reading them right away. A more subtle change though is that the Kindle has a dictionary.

If I run into a word I don’t know, which happens more than I like to admit, I can highlight the work and the dictionary will tell me what it means.

This feature doesn’t seem to exist in paper books. Yes, I find myself wanting to press on a word on the paper to see definitions but it doesn’t work. Silly I know but one gets used to things.

I remember as a child reading encyclopedias which were also paper back them. I would see references to other articles and in a few hours I would have a stack of books as I followed links from one article and book to another. I could do that because my mother worked hard selling encyclopedias so that we could have a set at home. Not every child was so lucky. Today of course we have the world wide web and following links is easy and doesn’t require stacks of books. It’s wonderful for the curious.

I wonder what things will be like when my grandson is my age. Will he just ask the computer for more information and say “tell me more?” Will he virtually walk though virtual corridors looking at virtual things? Or will it be something else again?


Garth said...

Will reading survive that long? My iPad will read to me (not very well at the moment) so maybe the future means people will not have to learn that pesky skill of reading.

I read the Martian a couple of months ago and then saw the movie. The book was for math/science geeks, the movie was the book without the math or science. Still fun. I went on line to see more about the book's math and science. Bad idea. Took the fun out of the book. Lots of errors in the book.

Alfred Thompson said...

I've never tried audio books. They have no appeal to me. Who knows what things will be like in a generation though.

As for the errors in that, and other, books. I wonder if the next phase will add information in fiction such as "this is made up for the sake of the story" and "this is more information about how this really works." That could be interesting.

Garth said...

The iPad thing is not an audio book. It actually reads text. I had to set it up for a disabled student a couple of years ago. Kind of a creepy monotone and it had some very interesting pronunciations but it was understandable.

I tried an audio book once. No go. I like to add my own mental picture as I read and I could not do that with the audio book. One of our young English teachers is catching up on all the reading she is supposed to have read through audio books. Every time she drives she has an audio book running. It works.