A few years ago, I requested The Word Exchange on Netgalley, because the story line sounded totally my cup of tea, and then, more urgent books piled up, and only recently did I finally take time to read it.
The structure of the book is neat, with its 3 parts: Thesis, Antithesis, and Synthesis.
Plus each chapter is alphabetized (like in Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr Johnson’s Dictionary, by Henry Hitchings, referred to in this novel itself) and opens with a made up definition of a word starting by that letter, in connection with the plot.
Reading is one of the most amazing ways for us to expand our worlds. Books allow us to explore new places, meet fascinating characters and experience things that we never could in our everyday lives. They transport our minds from the mundane to the exciting, soothing, chilling, heartrending or anywhere we choose. Polish Nobel laureate Wisława Szymborska described books perfectly: “Our ultimate frontier of freedom.”
Given our almost unlimited access to modern technology, many people have questioned how technology has changed the way we enjoy books. Apart from the printing press, audiobooks and e-books are the technologies that have probably had the largest effect on how we use and experience books.
The introduction of audiobooks was the first major technological change in the world of books. Initially, they were novels or stories on cassettes. The cassettes were then replaced by CDs. Now we can download digital audiobooks directly onto our smartphones and tablets.
Audiobooks allow us to enjoy books in a way that we never could with print books. We can listen to novels while we do chores, commute or workout. They’re also wonderful for people who have problems with their eyes. Now you can lose yourself in your favorite novel even if you’ve spent the entire day working with tiny text on a computer. Unlike print books, audiobooks allow you to hear different accents, voices and tones. This can bring a story to life and add depth and emotion to the characters.
One major advantage of digitally downloaded audiobooks is portability, as they allow you to have all your audiobooks stored on your smartphone or tablet. These digital downloads also give you access to countless free books. Many classic books are old enough to have passed into the public domain.
A word of warning, though. If you download free audiobooks from a website that you’re not familiar with, be sure to use good security software, as many unofficial websites contain viruses and scams. At the very least you’ll want a security suite and a VPN such as ExpressVPN. That being said, you will probably find a great deal of what you’re looking for through subscription services and your local library (many of them carry audiobooks now, both digitally and on disc).
The other major technological change in the world of reading came in the form of e-books. Initially, e-books could only be read on a laptop or desktop computer so the market was virtually non-existent. Yet once e-readers and tablets became readily available, the market for e-books expanded quite rapidly.
As with digitally downloaded audiobooks, a major advantage of e-books is that they are portable and save space. You can have a small library in your pocket! Also, as any bibliophile knows, traveling is so much easier with e-books. No more suitcases filled with books instead of clothes! All you need is your e-reader, tablet or smartphone to take your whole library on holiday with you.
We all know how important it is for children to read books, so it’s essential that we encourage them to do so. Children love novelty, and they might find the technology interesting. Many parents have successfully used e-books to encourage their children to spend more time reading.
Just as there are numerous websites that offer free audiobooks, there are many websites that offer free e-books. Most books that have passed into the public domain are available as well as many new books by indie authors trying to promote their work. Websites such as Project Gutenberg have many free e-books that you can download. Again, be sure to protect your e-reader, tablet or smartphone if you download e-books from an unfamiliar website.
There’s no doubt that technology has changed the way we enjoy books. In some ways, it has enhanced our enjoyment, such as giving you the ability to listen to an engaging novel while you do chores. Yet there are still some things technology can’t give us: the feel of crisp pages between your fingers or the smell of a newly-printed book. Personally, I believe that both technology-based and print books should have a spot in my life.
Do you think technology has changed the way we enjoy books? If so, how? Please tell us what you think by leaving a comment.
About the author:
Cassie is an entertainment blogger who adores reading. She owns way too many books, but won’t be caught sneaking her books into her husband’s suitcase again. She’ll use her e-reader instead.