Friday, March 24, 2006

Rediscovering reading


Never, in a thousand years, could I have foreseen myself reading a book, online. I mean, books are tangible. Have pages. That you turn over. With fingers. Books have covers. Books have smells. Difficult to describe. But never forgotten Like the smell I so powerfully associate with the children’s section of the Remuera library. A familiar childhood haunt. So, that aside, here I am, reading EM Forster’s Howards End. Online. A long-confirmed reader, a booklover, reduced to audio books (unabridged) for eighteen months, is rediscovering the joy of reading. Through my own eyes. And discovering a genre, for too long ignored. The classics. It would seem that classic titles are the only ones available online. Expired copyright, I suspect. So classics it is. First up, the aforementioned Howards End. Thus far, I am enjoying it immensely.

NB. A note in defense of audio books: actually, they are rather good. An excellent narrator, actors for the most part, really brings a book to life. I recommend them. Especially enjoyable listened to from between the sheets.

6 Comments:

Blogger Sigrid Jardin said...

What a pleasure to read your excerpt from Howard's End, and then your post about listening to books on tape. I adore the classics, and have gotten completely lost in such wonderful books as Middlemarch, and so many others. We usually listen to audio books on long drives, sometimes sit in the driveway to hear the ending! Recently I had the immense pleasure of watching, on public tv, a 6 part series dramatizing Bleak House, one of my longtime favorites. It was so beautifully acted and staged. I don't know what you are going through right now, obviously a major physical (and emotional) challenge. For what it's worth, please know that I'm fixing my best wishes, truly heartfelt, on your situation and sending you love across the waves. I'm so glad to have hooked up with your amazing mind and imagination!

4:06 AM  
Anonymous pohanginapete said...

I can't imagine reading a book online. (Well, perhaps, but I'd rather not). Agree totally with what you say about real books. Also, when you're tucked up in a sleeping bag under a bivvy rock in the Southern Alps, waiting out a storm, it's kind of hard to read online. And when there's just one book and your mate's going mental with boredom, you can rip a real book in half and let him read the bit you've already read. Try doing that online... ;^P

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Jacq said...

Have a look at www.projectgutenburg.com. They have lots of books... not all classics. But I do know what you mean. I've just done a Kate Chopin short story with my lit class. 'The story of an hour'. Would've liked to have done 'The Awakening', but too long.

11:27 AM  
Blogger adagio said...

Sigrid: I'm touched by your kind words. Thankyou. And such generous comments about my mind! Why is that we never see ourselves as others see us? Why are we, all too often, our own worst critic? The Bleak house series sounds just my cup of tea. Was it a BBC production? They do that sort of thing so well. Lots of things so well, for that matter.

pohanginapete: yeah, well you've got a point there. there's certainly a lot to be said for being able to rip a book in half in order to satisfy a mate's boredom. quite forgot about that. rip a laptop in half....nah, it's just not the same eh. by the way, nice to see your footprint in the mud again.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Sigrid Jardin said...

Hi again, yes I believe it was the BBC who produced Bleak House. If you see it advertised on your local public tv station, it is really worth watching.

1:39 PM  
Blogger adagio said...

Sigrid: I'm TV free actually. DVD perhaps? I watch a lot of those on my laptop.

6:28 PM  

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