In every Nook and cranny

Christmas Day, 2010

Happy Christmas and Merry Solstice, all.  I'm with my family in Washington, DC now, eating heartily and basking in the company of old friends.  We've given up holiday gift-giving in my family (to the very great reduction in our wintertime stress and expenditure), but my antimaterialism isn't so ardent that I didn't get myself a bit of a Mt. Grademore-completion present:  a NOOK!

Ever since I've been madly reading away on it.  Despite my steadfast commitment to the experience of reading paper books, the ereader has its distinctive pleasures, not least of which is the ability to take hundreds of books with me when I travel.  (I thought this had been a light year for travel for me.  Then I totted up the list of places I've been in 2010: Halifax, Cape Breton, Washington, Los Angeles, London, Dublin, Oahu, Kauai, North Carolina.  Guess I need a memory adjustment.)  Three things that would improve the excellent Nook experience for me: 1) Better screensavers (the Kindle has such lovely ones - pages from medieval manuscripts and the like - while the Nook has cartoon portraits of authors looking oddly like Hollywood actors), 2) easier library navigation, and 3) more font choices for a cleaner aesthetic experience.

The long and the short of it is that reading a paper book is a more satisfyingly sensual experience: the design of print books is better because it is fully within the control of the designer (in other words, the more control you give to the reader, the less coherent the design will become, and the less books will appear as art objects in their own right) and the tactile experience of paper is richer.  And, of course, until the Nook and Kindle come with little Smell-o-vision atomizer attachments, the olfactory experience of reading won't be the same with ebooks.  But the ereader is, to my very great shock, profoundly comfortable. I'm loving mine.