With Kindle, Can You Tell It’s Proust? by Joanne Kaufman is a news article in the New York Times I thought worth mentioning.
Most arguments for or against Kindle (and other electronic reading devices) revolves around the user’s reading experience. This article argues that a book is an object in everyday life. We use it, like other kinds of status symbols, to size people up. In the writer’s own words, “judge people by the covers of their books“.
When we see someone driving a Porsche, we instantly associate that person with wealth. So what happens when we see someone reading a particular book? Do we also mentally size up that person in a certain way?
It is an interesting argument and a refreshing look at the container of information and the reason for the staying power of the printed book.
Are you mindful of what you read in public? Do you think others form an impression or opinion of you when they see the stuff you read?
I don’t know. I think I judge a person by the way they read rather than the stuff they read.
The sad thing is less and less people are reading. There are so many distractions and things to see and hear that quiet reading has become less popular and palatable. Why read when you can watch or listen? Someone I know once said that reading is like work and it requires effort. He prefers audio books.
I am reading less too. A book must be really good before I am willing to invest the time. But sometime it is hard to judge whether something is worth the time or not. Not even wnners of the Booker Prize.
Perhaps it is not really about Book Versus Kindle but Book/Kindle Versus Everything Else.