November 15, 2011

November 15, 2011

"I'm a Big Open Book!"*

Note: Your comments about e-readers and tablet computers are not welcome. Paper or death!

I’ve finally taken a small step on the bandwagon of hoopla that is “The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo.” I’m not ready to review it yet; I’m on the third chapter. The first few pages didn’t impress me; I figure you probably need to be more Swedish to fully appreciate it. The closest I get is the $2500 or so I’ve spent at Ikea so far this lifetime. However, things did get more interesting once Lisbeth showed up. (Question to fans: Will I ever stop reading it as “Salamander” in my head?)

Anyhoo, the fact is that I’m reading a LARGE PRINT edition of “The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo.” Not because I have eye problems (nearsightedness notwithstanding), though I’m definitely going to get some looks during my commutes. It just happened that the only copy of this book available at the Alexandria Public Library was the large print edition.

I’ll be honest: I didn’t even know where that section of the library was at first. It’s like the microfiche section, or the career assistance section, or the section where they do puppet shows for kids. I know they exist, but I am not among their devoted demographic. Until, y’know, I am.

Other than some ancient Reader’s Digests at my (also ancient) great-aunt’s house, this is my first true experience with the world of LARGE PRINT books. For one thing: it appears that italics become bold print. I’m not sure on this, but every time I’ve come upon a periodical title or a scientific name in “The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo,” it’s been in bold instead of italics. Maybe italics are harder to read? Bold is certainly easier to read. Which makes one wonder why we aren’t all using bold instead of italics. Let’s take a page from the old people, people!

I have no idea how big the book is in regular print. I can tell you that in LARGE PRINT, it’s not nearly as big as I expected. I mean, I think LARGE PRINT book and I picture something resembling a Gutenberg Bible. This book is smaller than some non-LARGE PRINT books I have read. Probably helps that it’s a paperback.

I’m a bit concerned that the LARGE PRINT will make it even easier for fellow bus passengers to “share” my reading experience. I’m used to it by now: people scope out my Bloomberg Businessweek, they read along with my Real Simple, and they ogle my Town & Country. No one has yet asked me to stay on a page until they finished the article, but I figure it’s a matter of time.

Buses are fun!

But I’m told that this book features adult activities that I will be inwardly horrified to read about. Never mind the fellow passengers who are minding my own business some Tuesday morning as we all read about hacking and rape in LARGE PRINT. My best choice is to hope I sit next to people who can’t read English. Or who can’t read. Or who can’t see. Or who are headless.

Rarely do I wish my fellow passengers were actually weirder.

* A million points to anybody who got that reference to "The Librarians" and Book Week.

2 Fish in a Sea of Diet Coke:

[Insert obligatory "You wouldn't have to read in large print on an e-reader because you can change font size!" here. Sorry, I just couldn't resist.]

And yeah, I was not warned in advance about the rapetastic scenes, so when I stumbled upon those I was extremely shocked and surprised. Which, realistically, is probably what the author was going for. Still, my *grandmother* recommended the book to me. Said that it was about a weird kid who was a hacker. Extremely explicit rape scenes? Apparently not relevant information.

You may be interested to know that, while a bit excessive and outlandish, the "hacking" on display in the series is, theoretically speaking, technically possible. Whether it could be done with the level of technology that the book's setting is (late 90s, early 2000s?), or could be done as effortlessly and effectively as is described, is definitely up for discussion, but we're at least not talking about "Zoom and Enhance" level "hacking" (ie "computer magic" or "outright lies").

The joke's on me: I found out last night that I'm getting a Kindle Fire for Christmas.

And I was just reading your Facebook advice to someone about e-readers/tablets...

The universe obviously wanted to have a laugh.