I had a conversation yesterday with colleague that highlighted, yet again, the divide between all the new digital technology for reading against traditional books. She's an iPad user, with lots of books loaded onto her device, which she swears by for its portability and convenience. She said she's about to head off on a three week trip, and that means she needs to take a lot of books - and if it were actual books, that's a potential luggage issue - hence the value of her iPad. I get the convenience - I really do. However, I have a number of worries about all these devices.
As I've mentioned before - in my very first blog post - my No.2 son reads on his iPad. Prior to purchasing this little beast, he had books downloaded onto his iPhone and read them that way. Another friend of mine has a Kindle and gets nearly all her reading matter via eBook downloads to the Kindle.
Twenty - No.2 son - complains frequently of his disturbed and erratic sleep patterns and almost constant headaches. He takes his iPad to bed with him to read before lights out - as generations of us have done with books. However, I question the relaxation and wind-down factor when it is yet another screen that his eyes and brain are having to deal with late at night.
Like me, Twenty is in a job where he sits in front of a computer screen all day. He reads his iPad on the bus en route to work, and again going home at the end of the day. He then might watch some TV, or play some games on his home computer. And then to bed with the iPad. In my conversation with my colleague yesterday, I raised this - saying that for myself, apart from my love of actual books as objects, after looking at a screen all day, the last thing I want to do is be reading from another one at night... That smacks of more work! I even find myself loath to turn the TV on when I get home these days. We're saturated by digital media and it's well-nigh impossible to avoid it these days.
And so we come to the title of this post. The conversation yesterday wrapped up with what my colleague called 'The Three Bs of reading' - where an iPad, iPhone, Kindle, or any other electronic device is redundant. In bed, at the beach and in the bath. I don't know where all you other book junkies read. I tend not to read at the beach, mostly because I'm not a great beach person. I do read in bed and in the bath. The vulnerabilities of the digital devices to the latter two environments hardly needs to be spelled out - I'm sure you can all relate stories of your own, or of others, of the disastrous combination of water and these devices... And yes, a book dropped in the bath can be a fairly sorry object - but once dry, even if a bit wrinkled, it still works! As far as reading in bed is concerned, I still maintain that inflicting the phsical processing that has to go on in our brains to deal with yet another lot of pixels, versus the stability of a printed page has to be detrimental to our eyes, brains and subsequent ability to drift quietly into sleep.
Where and how do you all read? Any thoughts?