I recently completed reading my first e-book using my iPod touch. With the Stanza app, I downloaded a copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I’ve read comics on it, but I’ve never finished a book before.
I had never read Alice previously except maybe one of those Disney type picture books as a child. Alice is so annoying! I wish the Queen did chop off her head. Honestly, I’m not a deep reader so I don’t try to find look for meaning so even if Alice is supposed to be commentary on politics or society, I didn’t quite catch it (well except for the most obvious statements). Not to mention I know little of the politics of the time.
So the content sucked, but the format was pleasing. I liked reading this book on my iTouch. I don’t find reading on my iPod bothers my eyes anymore than reading a book. In fact on the iPod I can adjust the brightness to suit how my eyes feel at that moment which isn’t as easy with the lighting in my apartment or when traveling. Also I do have a short attention span, so I did find it more convenient to have a book on my iPod than to lug it around in my bag.I have the option to read several books or comics on my iTouch, instead of lugging multiple volumes around with me. Sometimes I want to read more deeply than others (this may correlate with how long my transit ride is), so this variety is a good thing.
Not long after I finished reading the book, I saw Alice in Wonderland (2010) in 3D at the Imax theatre. Naturally the film doesn’t try to recreate the book (and also draws from Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There). My experience here was opposite of reading: the content was okay but the format was not good. The movie itself wasn’t great – I only like the March Hare and Dormouse – but compared to the book it was an improvement. This was the second film I saw in 3-D and I have to say I don’t think I’ll go see another movie in 3-D. I find the effects aren’t worth the discomfort. It really bothered my eyes and I couldn’t sit relaxed because if I leaned or tilted my head things would get blurry.
It was revealing to be able to experience a book in these two different presentations: e-book and film. For decades, books have been coming “alive” and appearing on the silver screen. And, in many of those cases, book lovers bemoan the errors or inconsistencies in the film compared with the book. Still, movies often spread the original work’s message and intent to a much larger audience than a book alone. Since an e-book is not an interpretation, but just a change in format, those inconsistencies are not usually found. Yet, I suspect e-books (especially free ones from sites like Project Gutenberg) also allow for books to be read by a larger audience.