THE AUTHOR

Ian Casselberry is a freelance writer, currently based in Asheville, NC.

He is a columnist for Bloguin's The Outside Corner. Previously, he was a MLB lead writer for Bleacher Report, and has been a contributing writer for Yahoo! Sports' Big League Stew, SB Nation and MLive.com. 

You can also find him on the Twitter and the Facebook, where he craves your attention.

Someday, he'll get around to writing that novel.

("Pearls Before Swine" © 2005 Stephan Pastis)
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Friday
Feb032012

How about I just keep reading, OK? 

It seems like you have to take a side with just about everything these days.

You have to be a Democrat or Republican. If you love baseball, it must mean you hate football. Do you watch MSNBC or Fox News? Paper or plastic?

Apparently, this now applies to books, as well. Do you read e-books? If so, why aren't you reading print books? 

Maybe that's a bit exaggerated, but after reading Jonathan Segura's post at NPR Monkey See, it seemed as if a line in the sand had developed among people of the book.

This flame was lit by Jonathan Franzen, who thinks it's "going to be very hard to make the world work" if our literature isn't permanently available on print, rather than flirting with obsolescence on an electronic screen. 

I've been thinking about this even more over the past couple of days, as I prepare for my visit to Malaysia and collect things to read for the long trip. Almost all of the books (and magazines) I'll be reading are going to be loaded on my iPad.

Why? For one thing, there's a hell of a lot less to pack and carry around. I won't have to try and cram all of it in the pocket of the seat in front of me. I'll be able to switch between materials without having to rummage through my bag and constantly elbow the person sitting next to me. (Sorry, Mom.) And I won't be leaving anything behind for someone else to pick up because I'm done with it. 

Although to be honest, I probably will bring a print book or two with me to read later on. Because I happened to buy that particular book in printed form. And it's virtually impossible for me not to spend at least $20 any time I'm at an airport newsstand. Because I still like books and love magazines. I wasn't aware that reading them electronically and not holding the actual publication in my hand could call that into question. 

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I love books. Other than my sofa (and probably the desk I'm typing this on), my favorite pieces of furniture are my bookshelves. I enjoy having all my books right there in the living room and bedroom to pick over. I feel like it says who I am. And if I visit someone else's home, and they have a huge bookshelf, it's probably what I'm most impressed with. 

But my buying preferences are definitely changing. 10 of the last 12 books I've purchased have been e-books. (I might buy Freedom as an e-book, Franzen. Deal with it.) I actually didn't realize I'd bought that many in recent months because they're not strewn all over my coffee table, kitchen counter, or bedside table. And I haven't been fretting over how I'm going to cram them on my bookshelves. 

I'll agree that owning those books doesn't seem as substantive without all them physically accounting for their presence in my living space. And if I want to recommend any of those books to someone, I can't loan him or her a copy anymore. But it's sure as hell a lot more convenient to have all of those books zippered into my iPad. (I'm sure I'll be especially thankful next time I move.) 

So I'm sorry that a guy like Franzen doesn't think the version of The Art of Fielding or The Leftovers I read on my iPad somehow aren't as helpful to society than the printed versions of those books. If I talk to a friend who read those books in print, will we be able to discuss the same piece of literature? Or will my opinion hold less weight because I read it on a screen? 

As Segura said in his post, it's not an either/or proposition. You don't have to be an e-book person or print book person. And to make someone feel as if he or she has to choose a side is ludicrous. We're all still reading books. How about we be happy with that? 

Or maybe I'll just load a bunch of TV shows and movies onto my iPad for the trip instead. No, I'm just kidding. 

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Reader Comments (1)

I am extremely impressed with your writing skills as smartly with the structure for your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it your self? Either way stay up the nice quality writing, it is rare to peer a great weblog like this one nowadays..

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAurana Books

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