On the cover is Jonathan Franzen, looking away from the camera, which if you think he’s aloof will affirm that assumption for you, but if you don’t, and I count myself in that camp, it’s a cool cover. I read and thoroughly enjoyed his book, The Corrections, and eagerly anticipate his newest, Freedom.
In the article, he discusses how he writes on a computer that he has souped down, making it impossible for him to check e-mails or buy a DVD or create a Twitter account or even play a game. He types. Period. Which got me thinking about my own process. I have an old Mac laptop that has limited storage and no online capabilities. The other day, as I waited at Dunkin Donuts for my car to be repaired a few doors down, I opened my laptop, searched in vain for an outlet, which turned out to be fortuitous because the battery on that old dinosaur lasts only an hour or so. With nothing to distract me (other than the steady line of doughnut lovers behind me, whom I ignored, I’m proud to say, because writers are expert at finding distractions) and with limited time, I became quite productive.
Which has gotten me thinking about reading. I will probably never read an electronic book. I don’t have anything against electronic books, other than the lack of aesthetics—no one is going to “collect” books that are electronic, though who knows—but I suspect I would find it impossible to become fully immersed in a book if I knew that a possible e-mail or Facebook update lurked in the background. In fact, I worry, as some have begun to write about, that we’re losing our very ability to become immersed in a piece of lengthy writing. If you’re still reading this, I’m impressed. (If you started reading this, I’m impressed.) Ah, but when I take a book to the couch or on the deck, I know what I’ll be doing for the next few minutes. Without distraction. Until the damn phone rings.
I’d like to know your thoughts on books vs. electronic books. Go to the Discussion section on my author Facebook page to add your thoughts.