Monday, March 30, 2009

Charging ahead on the iPod Touch

About noon today I finished reading the Kindle version of Michael Connelly's 1999 whodunit Angels Flight on my iPod Touch. Yes, I read an entire book on a 3 1/2-inch screen and didn't suffer eyestrain. What's more, I've just recently had cataract surgery -- that has to be the ultimate test for small-scale e-book reading. And, let me tell you, the experience was a satisfying one.

The next thing I did was go to Kindle Books online and download Connelly's most recent cop novel, The Brass Verdict, published late last fall.

Why another cop novel? Why another Connelly? Am I going to pig out on his Harry Bosch novels the way I did on Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels last year until I'd read them all?

Not really. When one works in the same genre, it helps to absorb how other writers -- especially best-selling as well as first-rate ones -- craft their stories. One picks up good tricks that way. (One has to be careful not to steal, just be inspired.)

And when one reads an e-book on a small screen, it helps if the book is simple, direct and linear -- that is, if it doesn't have a convoluted plot that requires the reader to backtrack frequently to refresh his memory of names or events, such as all those Russians and their relationships in War and Peace. A good mystery keeps the reader rolling along effortlessly. Angels Flight did that.

As I become more and more used to this mode of reading, I might try a literary novel or a a heavy-duty biography on the little iPod Touch.

This doesn't mean I've forsaken print on paper. All this time I've also been reading the tree-book of P. D. James' newest literary mystery, The Private Patient -- one chapter a day, savoring each shapely sentence and each profound observation about human behavior. The end is drawing near; Commander Dalgliesh is about to bust the perp -- a colorful American phrase Lady James would never use.


  1. Congrats on your first complete ebook adventure. I just received a knock off Ipod nano that has a txt ebook function. Unfortunately the touch screen doesn't work so I can't adjust volume so I can listen to music with it but I am able to use the ebook function. I am reading the first in the Dragonlance series and am loving it. I really like the fact I can read in the dark and not bother my wife who is always fussing that the light is on. Over the past 10 or so days I have collected almost 1000 ebooks. I'm going to stop looking for more books to read until I get a nice chunk finished in this batch. I've got a ton of reading to do.

  2. ONE THOUSAND e-books? Are you trying to corner the market? You sure have a lot of reading to do!

    At least you don't have to build another wall-sized bookcase.

    How big is the screen on that iPod Nano knockoff?

  3. Yep 1000 ebooks :-) I guess it's part of my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I just have to collect things. Right now it's ebooks and online collectible card game cards. Years ago I collected electric guitars, tree books. sheet music and plastic pop bottle caps. I get everything for free or nearly free. Take the ebooks. I have friends everywhere who read ebooks and they email them to me. I also search google for free ebooks. I usually have to hunt for anything good but the hunt for me is fun. I'm disabled and go weeks without leaving the house so searching gives me something to do while Ginger is at work. Reading a tree book is also fun for me because it takes me places that I've never been or never will go to and is like a mini vacation. Reading is the best drug that has ever been invented. People talk about taking acid and taking fantastic trips while the chemical is coursing through their bodies. I've done it. I hate the feeling afterwards and I don't like what it does to your brain. Books provide me with fun and adventure without feeling like crap when I'm through. It also help me to expand my mind and imagination without killing me. I'd rather spend the day with a book then I would most people I know. I'm sorry for the long reply here. I hope I made sense. Oh and the screen size is about 3 inches tall and 2.5 inches wide. I think I'm going to try reading glasses. I've noticed a head ache after reading for a while.

  4. The only draw back I've noticed so far is the size. Last night Jeremy apparently fell asleep reading b/c I woke up to him searching frantically for the little bugger. Turned out it was under the bed. He must have kicked it there when he sat up looking for it. I was afraid one of the dogs got it and decided it was a new chew toy. Not completely unheard of in this house I'm sad to say.

    That being said, I'm jealous, I want one. It would be perfect for breaks at work, slip it out of my pocket instead of lugging a book and either forgetting it in the truck or leaving it at work at the end of the shift.