Friday, 4 February 2011

Stuff that's tickled me recently... (2)

E-Book on an iPad
Credit Here
E-Books increase people's reading time:
A recent study from iModerate Research Technologies and Brock Associates has found that people who have a MFD (Multi-functional device) with them basically all of the time now read more as a result of always having a book with them in electronic form. And not just one book either - they can have a huge number of titles in their bag with them thanks to e-books. They're generally reading at times when I myself would pull a book out of my bag and sneak in a few pages - on the bus, waiting for an appointment etc - except now they don't have to be a dedicated bookworm who carries books around with them specifically for these times. They just happen to have them already. While I'm not personally an e-book reader (I just can't go past a hard copy book) I have nothing against them and in fact cheer them on heartily if it means that people are now reading more. I'm all for that!

From E-books to Vooks:
Now this is something funky - Vooks. Apparently these are basically e-books on crack, the souped-up version that include interviews, video clips, the whole multimedia experience of what was once a humble books, 300 or so pages of the printed word. I'm not entirely sure if I think this is a brilliant idea or if it's a bit gimmicky. I guess time will tell.

Toyo Shibata
redit: Reuters/Asukashinsha/Handout
It's never too late:
Now this is one for the inspirational files - a 99-year old Japanese grandmother, Mrs. Toyo Shibata, has just sold 1.5 million copies of her first book (self-published) of poetry. She turned to writing poetry when she had to give up dancing at 92 years old. (92! I'll be chuffed to still be kicking around at that age, much less worrying what  I should do with my time now I have to stop dancing!) Now, at 99, her poetry book is selling like hotcakes. Just goes to show it's never too late to have a crack at something. I take my hat off to her.

Yann Martel
Credit: Yann Martel

Man on a mission:
Yann Martel, best known for his Booker Prize winning The Life of Pi, has spent the last four years and 100 books trying to educate the Canadian Prime Minister on the joys and value of literature. He's quoted in the article as saying "We've become slaves to our work and have forgotten that it's in moments of leisure and stillness, when we're free from working with a hoe or at a keyboard, that we can contemplate life and become fully ourselves."While I know nothing about the Canadian PM or Canadian politics in general, this is totally an endeavour I can get behind. I'm all for getting people hooked on the joys of reading and helping those in charge of the purse strings value the arts in general. Without the arts, what do we have? When our descendants look back at us it's not only the business successes, the architectural achievements or technological advances they will care about. They'll (surely) want to know more about us as a people, want so glimpse inside our minds and souls. Where better to capture that than in our literature and film? 

Bibliotheca Alexandrina at night
Credit here
Keeping the libraries safe:
Despite massive unrest in Egypt and demands for out with the old and in with the new, this doesn't apply to the books at Bibliotheca Alexandrina which is being protected by organised groups of the city's youth. For all of the despairing head shaking that usually goes on about 'the youth of today' I think it's fair to say that Egypt, at least, doesn't seem to have much to worry about. Good on you, guys! Keep up the good work.


  1. Lots of interesting stuff here but I'm really impressed with the youth of Egypt. Clearly they know that knowledge is power!

  2. Thanks for the comment, Lisa! I think that my fave bit was the youth protecting the libraries too. Good for them!

  3. Wow, maybe some sort of e-reader device would help me increase my reading time. I used to devour books at an extremely fast rate, but since Jonathan was born almost a year ago I've read... wait for it... one! And I'm technically not even finished with that one. Part of the problem is that I fall asleep within a few minutes of opening a book now, and part of it is that I've developed a lot of bad habits, like spending most of my free time reading blogs. How do you make reading a priority?

  4. Hi Cahleen! Thanks for the comment. Well, for starters I don't have a little one in my life yet - that helps! Goodness knows how I'll manage once I do. Right now though, reading is just something I do. I was the kid with the book and a flashlight under the covers and not much has changed really. Plus it's what I'm studying so I've kind of surrounded myself with books. I reckon an e-reader might work nicely for you cos then you'll have the book always with you for that moment of downtime that might happen during the day. If you give it a try, let me know how it goes :)