Sunday, August 09, 2009
The Sony Reader Report: Day 3
Sony Reader (in the Brown Cover) on Psychedelic Bag
You used to be dazzled by the Sony Walkman. You’d be out running with the radio clipped onto your pocket, listening to FM as you puffed by the lakeside park, grateful that Peter Gabriel, Bruce Springsteen, The Pretenders, and Eddie Rabbit (singers Ann Beattie’s characters also heard on the radio) distracted you from the boredom of running.
We have a Sony Walkman (antique), a Sony TV (a gift), and now a Sony Reader (chosen over the Kindle because it suits our slower life-style). The experience of getting a Sony Reader today is a bit like getting a Sony Walkman in the ‘80s. No running involved, but it’s a smooth gadget, and the transition to the e-reading is quick. Proof - and I realize this sounds unbelievable - last night I became so absorbed in my e-book that I kept reaching up to turn the pages. (There ARE no pages: you have to click a button).
Reading is reading, but this is a much better device than the Palm (which had a glaring screen, though the new ones are probably better). You can find endless free public-domain books at Gutenberg, Manybooks.net, and Google. Last night I chose Mary Roberts Rinehart, who is known as the American Agatha Christie.
Rinehart’s The Circular Staircase, a 1907 mystery whose title is reminiscent of my favorite Nancy Drew,The Hidden Staircase, is engrossing, amusing, and well-written. It transcends the machine.
The narrator, Rachel, is a wealthy, witty spinster, whose summer house suddenly begins to fill up with dead bodies (two so far). Her servants are jumpy, strange noises begin at the witching hour of three o’clock, mysterious men, women, and ghosts invade the house, and her clever, sophisticated nephew and niece may be involved (though she, and we, trust not).
Rachel begins ironically in the third person, before switching to the first person: “This is the story of how a middle-aged spinster lost her mind, deserted her domestic gods in the city, took a furnished house for the summer out of town, and found herself involved in one of those mysterious crimes that keep our newspapers and detective agencies happy and prosperous.”
Are you hooked yet? But it becomes even wittier.
Books are preferable to e-books, but my library discards books after five years (not making this up sadly). Therefore, no Rinehart in the library. So for some of us with catholic tastes, the e-reader is a good investment: my book and e-book libraries will never coincide.
Posted by Frisbee at 7:36 PM