Two Sides toReading e Books
Atlas Shrugged by Ann Rand is 1,200 pages and weighs 1.3 pounds. The size alone is the main reason I chose to buy it at Amazon’s Kindle store. However, as I progress through the book, I see both the benefits and the inconveniences of reading on an e reader vs a print book.
First the benefits: My Kindle is easy on the eyes if one adjusts the screen to bigger print. On a regular print book the 1,200 words would expand to enormous proportions if put into large print format—if the book in that format could be found. If I want to have the book with me for quick reading at odd moments—which I am prone to doing—the reader is handy to slip into my purse. Turning pages is a matter of pressing a little bar on the side; turning physical pages is a hard habit to break though. I save my place by pressing another button from the menu, although a couple of times the place was saved anyway.
However, my habit of reading an old fashioned print book will never leave me. The front flap and back flap of a hard cover book and the back cover of a paperback book contain information about the author, a brief summary of the book, and sample reviews. All of these items become important as I continue through any book–fiction or non fiction.
I chose to read Atlas Shrugged because I’ve noticed an increasing interest in the work of Ann Rand, remembering a time when I read The Fountainhead when it was published in 1949. Curiosity impels me to read Atlas Shrugged and then reread The Fountainhead to compare what I thought as a teenager in 1949 and what I take from the book now. The more I read about Ann Rand, the more curious I become—about her philosophy, her writing style, her plot formation, and the way she chose to align the style with the message. I read, as I do with most books, with the mind of a writer as well as reader.
Banning books is not a good thing. Trying to fit certain books into age appropriate categories proves stifling to a young person eager to learn about the world. As a teenager, I was expected to work part time during my high school years. That’s how it was. We all kept part time jobs while attending school. Fortunately for me, I loved my job as assistant librarian in a public library. The banned books were kept behind the counter, safe from the prying eyes of the public patrons. Evening hours were usually quiet, and I chose the time to look into almost all of the hidden books as well as the ones newly arrived. In such a way I opened the pages of Norman Mailer’s first novel The Naked and the Dead and found it more than I could absorb. Years later, the book was more digestible.
Young readers should never be dissuaded from reading what they choose. If it’s not suitable for them, they won’t continue reading. The price of most e books makes choices affordable. A person can carry an entire library anywhere, deleting or adding and rereading wherever life takes us. There is no end to the way coming generations will read and learn. The days of hiding behind the counter to read banned books are over.