How E-Books Will Change Reading and Writing

Change must be coming!

On December 30th, NPR's Morning Edition had a five-minute segment on about electronic literature. The segment covered twitter novels (well, just Rick Moody's failed attempt), phone novels from Japan and e-readers. What really turned me off from the segment was this quote from Nicholas Carr:
"Over the last couple of years, I've really noticed if I sit down with a book, after a few paragraphs, I'll say, 'You know, where's the links? Where's the e-mail? Where's all the stuff going on?' " says writer Nicholas Carr. "And it's kind of sad."

I assume he's being tongue-in-cheek here, but I still find it misdirected. It's another example of how mainstream media and our cultural critics have decided to ignore some of the foundations of information literacy and equate all formats as one.

The rest of the segment isn't any better. Rick Moody and Lev Grossman both look at new technology (twitter and mobile phones) and basically point out thier short-comings to the novel. Apples and oranges. When are we going to start hearing from people who are actually creating unique and powerful material on these new formats rather than traditional crafters who are comfortable with old media and are hesitant to really experiment. (How do you have a conversation in twitter? Easy. Two accounts and use the reply function.) At least the segment didn't end pointing to e-readers as the great innovation in this field. It just ended with the stock "woe is the novel, who knows if it will survive this latest change and still be the major cultural center it has been for the past 500 years."



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