Saturday, 18 June 2011


after what seems an age the anne sexton reading is finally coming to a close, in part because i've been wanting to make it last as long as possible (a waiting game that worked wonderfully with william maxwell) but also because there's only so long i can have anne sexton's voice in my head (a nice wee interview with anne stevenson re sexton here

however i've got loads out of the parallel reading of biography/letters/collected poetry. next up I would imagine will be elizabeth bishop, not least because I've already got her collected letters, poems and anne stevenson's book on her. all i need now is a biography and i'm off.

not that i'll be getting the kindle versions of any of these. my affair with the kindle definitely seems to be more off than on. for what i bought it for – a means of carrying a load of reading material when I''m away on the bike – it's great. true, it's a bit fragile and needs protection from bumps and water but beyond that it's just fine. except really it's not.

getting a cover for it worked really well for me in terms of using it but i was under no illusions that what I was really doing was making it feel more like an actual book. but i miss the feel of the pages, the smell of the paper, all the illustration, the binding, the font, the contrast of the ink on paper, the heft of it in my hands and most of all the simple act of turning the page (and all of that before the fact that the kindle versions are often more expensive and we have to pay vat on them!)

so, for a good wee while now, while i've grudgingly accepted it, overall it's been in the 'not really for me' category. until this week where for various reasons my mind's been turning back to moby dick. i wanted a big hefty copy i could annotate. i had some discussion with joanne and she recommended the folio edition which i duly got on ebay. what a lovely thing (for all the reasons above) and far too nice to write on even if the page size and the paper were just right. i thought then what i could do instead was read the folio edition, then annotate my vintage edition (not the best by virtue of cheap paper)

and then the kindle! finally i can make a set of notes that doesn't rely on me remembering what notes are where or peppering my book with post it notes until it looks like a hedgehog. a bit unwieldy, true, but now my close reading consists of the folio edition for reading, the kindle for making electronic notes and the vintage for marking up. with some nice coffee on the go and a quiet room what better way to spend a rainy scottish afternoon


Titus said...

That's the first thing I've ever read that's made me excited about a Kindle. Coo.

swiss said...

i have to say i still think the easton edition may make it to my shelves one day

but the kindle thing, i'm well taken by it. i'm thinking of texts i like that i can do close readings of, jane eyre for instance. not that it'll ever replace the printed book for me.