How do you like reading on the iPad2? they asked

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The iPad2 was my husband's gift to me—marketed weeks upon weeks in advance.  "I don't need that," I kept saying.  "It feels indulgent."  But we run a communications business here, we need to know what is up, what can be done, what hasn't been done yet, and besides, he had to talk me into a Blackberry, too, and you don't now find me going out too often without that.  Also besides, I've been saying for a long, miserable time that I need to spend less time in front of the computer and more time in a quiet place, a room or two away, reading and writing.

And so, the iPad2, which arrived a week ago, and which I have put to minimal, but interested use.  I am a New York Times subscriber, for example, and so, by downloading the New York Times app, I can now sit with this glass tablet on my lap in the dark making no disturbing rustling noises while I read the reviews of such great books as Francisco Goldman's Say Her Name.  I find it easier to read this way—my arms don't hurt, my eyes don't squint, and I can turn off the lamp beside my husband while he watches shows about fish, food, and war (sometimes he's lucky and all three things appear on one show at once).  I'm reading my hometown paper this way as well, and when my subscription to the paper version of The New Yorker runs out, I may go iPad with that as well, though I don't know.  I'm rather fond of my stacks of New Yorker stories, torn fresh from the bindings.  Vanity Fair?  Maybe.

I also, as readers of this blog know, downloaded Tina Fey's Bossypants and iPad2'ed it—the perfect book for this medium.  As much as I loved Bossypants, I don't plan to ever teach it, do not need my scribbled marginalia as a guide to my first readerly reactions.  I know that some sort of marginalia can be achieved via the iPad2, don't get me wrong.  I'm just not interested in going there at this moment and rather suspect I'll never be.  There's an art to making notes in books, and I like pen to paper.  I also like, however, the extras the expanded iBook version of Bossypants afforded—more photos, an audio chapter, pretty cool flipping and bookmarking technology.  I've just downloaded Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad as well as a guide to Croatia for my next iPad2 readings.  I want to take Egan to Ithaca over Easter weekend and Croatia to Croatia, some time in June.  I think of these books as traveling companions.

Finally, I've downloaded the PDF app that will allow me to iPad2-read my own manuscripts-in-progress.  I've got two books I'm working on—a novel, nearly complete, and a memoir.  I've worked to give myself enormous distance on the novel and reading it again on a new technology, following a final set of revisions, will, I think (I hope), allow me to see this book as a stranger might.  That, at least, is what I'm going for.

My friend Karen, always so far ahead in matters of technology, does many things with her iPad that I don't know how to do—watch Netflix movies while exercising, say, or reading student papers.  She's the real expert on this (as she is on most things).  I'll become a smarter iPad2 user in time, I hope.  But for now, to answer your questions:

I really like my iPad2.

7 comments:

bermudaonion said...

We bought an iPad when it first came out. Our son "borrowed" it and it has now found a home with him. Carl bought an iPad2 when it came out and he loves it, but I find I don't fool with it very often. I do plan to take it when I visit my mother since she doesn't have wi-fi and it has 3G.

Anna Lefler said...

I like the feel of pen to paper as well. I'm not sure where I'll come out on the electronic version of reading yet...

~ A.

Mandy said...

Great feedback, Beth! This sounds perfect for my husband, especially with all of our upcoming travels. Books are wonderful and hard to not buy them but we're having to hold back now. Of course, I will be ordering a copy of YAMO to be shipped to my parents house when it pubs. :)

Lilian Nattel said...

Do your eyes get tired reading? One of the reasons I got a Kobo was that I'd read that e-ink is easier on the eyes. But the lack of colour and poor pdf file reading on it makes me hanker for something better.

Melissa Sarno said...

What a fancy new toy! It seems that everyone on the subway has one. I have not gone into this e-reader space yet but the IPad is so pretty looking...
I just got really excited that you are going to Ithaca. What are you doing there? Say hello to the trees and the waterfalls for me. I used to go to school there and I miss it oh-so-much.

Becca said...

My husband is rarely parted from his. I'm actually sometimes jealous of it.

I don't have one of my own - yet. I could see myself becoming very seriously addicted to all the information available on it. There is an app for blog reading that is simply unbelievable. It puts all your favorite blogs together as if they were a magazine, and you can clip from one to the other. It's beautiful. But for the life of me, I can't recall the name.

I'm with you on the paper and pen thing. I love scribbling in books, and I really miss doing that with e-readers. I know there's a way to take notes, but it isn't the same for me.

julia said...

don't think it would have possible to not like Bossypants. Everything TIna Fey touches is so incredibly and Hilariously honest in every way.

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