The Last Bookshop imagines a future where holographic entertainment has replaced books. But “there have always been stories, and there always will be.”
A lovely short by The Bakery.
But where fixity enabled us to become better readers, can iteration make us better writers? If a text is never finished, does it demand our contribution? Fixity is important if you deem the text the end; but perhaps instead the text is now a means—to our own writing, our own thinking. Perhaps it is time for the margins to swell to the same size as the text.
— Mandy Brown, Deploy
The first time I read Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, I was a freshman in university reading a paperback that was in fairly decent condition considering it had probably belonged to at least a dozen people before me. This time I read the Kindle version, and when I looked back at the passages I had highlighted, I was surprised to discover that this one appears twice in the text—and I had noted it both times.
The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation.
The first is when Mrs. Pontellier’s awakening begins and the quote continues thus:
The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.
The second time these lines appear is just before the end of the story. The words that follow speak of what is to come while also calling to mind the scene where Mademoiselle Reisz compares Edna’s shoulder blades to wings, checking to see if they are strong enough to “soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice”:
All along the white beach, up and down, there was no living thing in sight. A bird with a broken wing was beating the air above, reeling, fluttering, circling disabled down, down into the water.
I don’t like to physically mark up my books when reading (which led to me sorting through piles of cheap, used student editions to find one without commentary in its pages), so I have to wonder: would I have noticed the symmetry with which Chopin begins and ends Edna’s journey if I hadn’t been using an e-reader? Furthermore, what does that say about me as a reader? I know that I read quickly, which can be both a blessing and a curse. I often have to force myself to slow down or even re-read passages to fully take in the language and balance and subtext. I was clearly moved each time I read those lines, but seeing the two passages electronically highlighted makes me wonder what I’m missing in the absence of close reading—and if my Kindle is helping or hindering my desire to get more out of each read.
As more people consume pages in pixels, we wondered why does society still adhere, quite literally, to the analog, page-turning model? What happens when the reading experience catches up with new technologies? What opportunities might arise for authors, publishers, and retailers with major structural changes in the industry?
The story features a book-loving monkey and a tech-savvy donkey whose conversation about Treasure Island pokes fun at the great print vs. digital debate. To add to the humor, the book is being promoted with its own trailer.
Skateland was the place to be when I was growing up. The local roller rink was where all the cool kids had their birthday parties, where a shy girl could use bad skating skills to justify clinging to her crush’s hand, where florescent orange cheese adorned the best worst nachos that babysitting money could buy. It was also the place where you could play Pac-Man, cheer on your friends as they played Pac-Man, or if you were me, hold the unofficial title of “Worst Pac-Man Player in Town.”
It’s the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man, and Google is celebrating with their first ever interactive logo that lets you play the iconic game.
If you haven’t played it yet, go now. Pretend you can smell those nachos as you evade ghosts atop tightly laced skates, and “Insert Coin” for added fun.
Update: I WON! (Yes, it did take me a bazillion tries. No, I am not ashamed to admit that.)
We can try to put a protective layer of glass on the words, or we can embrace the idea that we are all better off when words are allowed to network with each other. What’s the point of going to all this trouble to build machines capable of displaying digital text if we can’t exploit the basic interactivity of that text?”
Twitter friend Jessica Knott shared this free download today, the How-To-Guide: Digital Storytelling Tools for Educators by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano. The guide was written for educators to teach students how to connect, collaborate, and communicate through digital storytelling.
Storytelling is an ancient form of teaching. Before books or reading and writing became widely spread and available, oral storytelling was the only form wisdom and knowledge of the people were passed down from elders to children. [...] Digital storytelling gives us the ability to reach and disseminate our stories further than ever before in history. Storytelling, no matter in what form or media created in, is a powerful tool to transmit knowledge, culture, perspectives and points of view.”
Tolisano writes about the relationship between storytelling and teaching, and provides step-by-step instructions on how to use digital tools. I just read the other day about using Google Earth to teach literature, but some of the other tools Tolisano covers are new to me and I’m looking forward to playing around with the Mac equivalents.
You can download your copy here. It’s a quick read and handy reference guide for anyone interested in learning more about digital storytelling tools.
The piece, part of The Guardian‘s Disappearing acts series, gives a brief history of calligraphy and gives insight into the tools Antonio uses (and makes), the variety of work he produces, and the complexities involved with choosing materials.
It is a fascinating look at an ancient craft, and true to the “disappearing act” title, includes the effects technological advances have had on making calligraphy nearly obsolete. But despite this, Antonio recognizes the history of adjusting the craft to the technology, and uses it himself in the form of digital scans.
Writing developed, he says, according to the technologies of the period. Brushes and reeds worked perfectly well on the rough, uneven surface of papyrus, but with the advent of much smoother vellum and parchment, quills became the tool of choice. Now, 21st-century digital technology has its uses.”
Whether you have an interest in writing, technology, letterforms, or British accents, I highly recommend you take five minutes and treat yourself to the slideshow.