Saturday, April 9, 2011

P-Books vs. E-Books, The Future of Reading, and Reading Literature of Other Cultures

One can argue that I don't know how to look at a calender, and they would be right. For some reason I thought last class (April 7th) was week 13 (the last class) and I read and blogged about the novel Thirsty. So here I'll blog about what I was supposed to blog about on Thursday, and on April 14th, when we actually read the group of novels that includes Thirsty, please go to the previous blog post.

"P-Books vs. E-Books"
I can honestly say that I have very little experience with e-books, and I have no experience with e-readers. The only e-books I can say I have experienced are the ones that you read from your computer. But I do find Digital Rights Managament facinating. The "Sharing" section speaks briefly on this. Some companies limit their e-books to be "lent" only twice, and in some cases, once. The "Secondhand Books" section also touches on this. The author says "Few e-readers support lending or reselling ebooks" which, to me, is unfair. I paid for it, it is now my property. If I want to sell it or give it away, I should be allowed to. However, I do understand the used property market, as I have been following the used videogame issue for a while. When you personally resell something, nothing is sent back to the people who originally made the item. At the same time, they already got their money, and they are not physically making another copy, and they are not losing money. They just are not making any new money from a resale. I know that was a brief run down, but it's the basics.
I'm still not sold on e-books, but I do have to say that the ability to highlight and make notes is pretty intriguing. I have some books from my undergrad that I highlighted in (my undergrad teachers told us it was ok and recommened doing it!) and when I re-read them I cringe. I know that I could always pay the $12 and buy a new copy and support my favoutire authors. Yet at the same time I like looking back at my copy of Harry Potter and the Philsopher's Stone that I read for the first time during a class called "The School Boy" that deals basically with homosexuality and children. My copy of The Golden Compass also has many notes about children and agency that I love reading. So even this e-book highlighting doesn't sell me.

"The Future of Reading"
"Story trumps all. It doesn't matter if you get to see clips of Lauren Conrad at a photo shoot on the screen while reading her new novel, This Book is a Symptom of Publishing Companies' Desperation." If I live to be 100 years old, or if I get amnesia, I hope I will never forget this one quote. I really don't mind if people are reading online, on ebooks, or in print, or messages in the sky. As long as you're reading and you're liking it, I'm happy and I think we're safe from falling into a dystopia (more or less). I like this quote because the story really is what makes something sucessful (though as I write this I am questioning myself...). I actually like the idea of the online medium and the riddles and the need to come together to solve the riddles, but really, haven't we all read a book, watched a movie, or played a video game where the story just wasn't there? Sometimes we finish the thing in question just for the spirit of not leaving things unfinished, even though there's nothing that's holding us to it?

"Reading Literature of Other Cultures"
Along with the article, I will also draw upon the seminar from Thursday. I am someone who enjoys literature from other cultures, as long as it has been translated or written in English because I am sadly uni-lingual. Personally I think it is strange to feel like you have nothing to say about a piece of literature because it is set in a culture that is not your own. As the article suggests, you can imagine yourself there, and you can always go research the culture in question. You can always speak about it in terms of its complete strangeness to you, and compare it to your own culture. As I think back to my elementary public school experience (burr) I can't recall any books that were outside of the Canadian/American culture. I read some books myself, including some of The Royal Diaries series (fictional diaries of real historical royality as children), and a book called Sakuran and some others that I can't recall the titles, but in the classroom I can't recall ever reading something outside of our own setting. In highschool we read The Forbidden City, but that's an American's view, there to explain everything we might find foreign and confusing to us. Maybe I think that we should have more culturally diverse material in the classroom because of my small town's inadequate reading collection, but that's where I stand. Don't make everything the white version of Canada/America. And I certainly don't believe in localizing the material-and this was something brought up in the seminar, wherein an international book will have the culturally specific bits removed and re-localized. Eg, a book that is set in Japan is now set in America when it is translated to English. Why do this? As people who belong to a diverse world, it would probably be beneficial to present children/young people these different cultures without having to mask them with our culture.  

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