Wednesday, October 14, 2015

In Transit: Why Do I Have to Click on "English" for English? -- Oh, Wait...

Y'all may not have noticed given my spotty posting this year, but I was away for a few days when I really wanted to do more writing.  The reason: I was getting ready for my upcoming trip to Korea.  Shopping for gifts, packing, etc.  And now I'm writing this in Narita International Airport in Tokyo, with not quite two hours before the final leg of the journey.  As you can see, it's quiet here at the moment, though that will no doubt change soon enough.  I haven't been here since 2010, because on my last trip I got a nonstop flight from the US to Korea.  I don't think they had free wi-fi here before, so I'm happy.

One reason I like flying is that being crammed into economy class leaves me little to do but read, and I get a lot of reading done on planes.  And I most appreciate e-books when I'm traveling, though as usual I've stuck half a dozen books into my luggage anyway.  One of them, The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe by Alexander McCall Smith, I polished off after we left Minneapolis. It became a small ritual of mine to buy the latest No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency book each time I traveled to Korea, and I've continued that habit this time.  They usually take me about two hours to read, and I enjoy them.

But I also finished the latter half of an e-book I began a couple of days ago.  Since I've sniped at some people who object to e-books, it occurred to me that I wanted to write about my current opinion of the format.  I have both NOOK and Kindle dedicated readers, but lately I got a cheap ten-inch tablet, downloaded the NOOK and Kindle apps to it, and now I do about half my e-book reading on the tablet.  It's not quite as compact, but I like the larger screen.  I got a protective case for it that holds the tablet at a good angle for reading without my having to hold it up, and it's very comfortable.  I will keep the dedicated readers, though.  For one thing, I can read outdoors with them; the tablet screen is washed out by glare if I try to use it outside in daylight.

One thing I noticed today:  not only do e-books facilitate rereading, they make it easier to switch from book to book without losing my place.  Today I was jumping from Origins of the Specious: Myths and Misperceptions of the English Language by Patricia T. O'Connor and Stewart Kellerman to a sample from Genetic Explanations: Sense and Nonsense, edited by Sheldon Krimskyand Jeremy Gruber (very good, but too expensive to buy the rest of it -- I'll check it out from the library when I'm back at home next month) to Alison Bechdel's Are You My Mother? (which I'm rereading a chapter at a time) and bits of a few others.  That wouldn't be as easy with physical books, let alone when I'm in the air a thousand miles from home.

I still love physical books and will go on reading them.  But I find e-books very convenient.