Books Magazine

Little Dorrit on My Nook

Posted on the 15 April 2011 by Erictheblue

As throngs of this blog's devotees know, I've been reading Little Dorrit, and am now approaching the end of Book One, "Poverty," which is followed, naturally, by Book Two, "Riches."  That's all the books in this immense novel.  It's often grouped with Bleak House and Our Mutual Friend, a grand triumvirate of Dickens's mature genius. 

I haven't mentioned, however, that I'm reading Little Dorrit on my Nook, the Barnes and Noble e-reader.  It's a gift from my wife, Amanda, who I think was hoping I wouldn't like it.  When I expressed initial pleasure, and still seemed pleased as the end of the trial period drew nigh, she went out and bought her own.  A second $250!  I hope that means next summer's vacation to Wisconsin Dells is off. 

If she thought I might not like it, she had reasons.  Imagine Henry David Thoreau charging up his e-reader on the shores of Walden Pond.  His masterpiece includes this judgment: "We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate."  Thoreau wasn't the only book-loving reader to take a dim view of technological advancement. I have a theory that people educated in "The Humanities" are inclined to deprecate applications of scientific knowledge, which are viewed as "soulless" and "materialistic" beside the eternal Truth and Beauty contained within My Favorite Poem.  Amanda might have thought that I was, you know, one of them.

I sort of am.  I take pleasure in sitting on the couch, gazing at the crowded shelf across the room, letting my eye drift from one spine to the next while thinking of what I know about this book and that one, what was going on in my life when I first read it, what part I particularly liked, an exercise that sometimes makes me rise from my seat to take the volume in hand, the heft of it comfortable and reassuring as I seek out the remembered passage and find it, perhaps just as I'd expected, about a third of the way down a right-hand page three-fourths through the mass of it and marked by me with an exclamation point made with a ballpoint pen in the margin.  The Nook does not afford such pleasures.

It has its advantages, however.  Portability, for example.  From where I am sitting I can see on the shelf The Portable Tolstoy, The Portable Nietzsche, and The Portable Chekhov.  My Nook, which weighs a fraction of these three volumes and still has 4.82 GB (out of 5.00) free, includes The Complete Works of Shakespeare.  If you like books and reading, why would you not want to carry around a library with you?  This morning, in a coffeeshop with an electronic Little Dorrit, I was reading in Chapter 34 of the Barnacle family when I came to this sentence

Secondly, because wherever there was a square yard of ground in British occupation under the sun or moon, with a public post upon it, sticking to that post was a Barnacle.

and, contemplating the aptness of the name, Barnacle, wondered about zoological details of that creature.  Dunn Brothers was not equipped with reference books but I could press my finger on the word on the "page" of the Nook and be taken to the following definition

any of numerous marine crustaceans (subclass Cirripedia) with feathery appendages for gathering food that are free-swimming as larvae but permanently fixed (as to rocks, boat hulls, or whales) as adults

before, with a second tap of the screen, proceeding to the Wikipedia article on same. 

With the Nook, it's also easier to read the newspaper on the bus: you don't have to fold up the paper to keep it out of the face of the person next to you, then keep folding it in new places as you progress through the article.  There is such a thing as a useful gadget.  Thoreauvians: I'm just sayin'!


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Go Grow Glow!

    Grow Glow!

    The yuccas in the second raised bed are enjoying the summer and growing away nicely, except for one that is... The Yucca rostrata right in the middle of this be... Read more

    16 hours, 49 minutes ago by   Alternativeeden
    DESTINATIONS, GARDENING
  • Recap: Mamby on the Beach a Breath of Fresh Lakeshore Air

    Recap: Mamby Beach Breath Fresh Lakeshore

    Chicago in the summertime is truly the best of many worlds. You’ve got a fine, world-class city made of beautiful, steel structures, gorgeous parks... Read more

    The 27 June 2017 by   Urbanmatter Chicago
    TRAVEL
  • Book Review: Why Are There Differences in the Gospels?

    Book Review: There Differences Gospels?

    The full title of this wonderful book is Why Are There Differences in the Gospels?: What We Can Learn from Ancient Biography (Oxford University Press, 2016). Th... Read more

    The 27 June 2017 by   Mmcgee
    PHILOSOPHY, RELIGION, SPIRITUALITY
  • Video: The Lofoten Islands of Norway

    Remote and wild, the Lofoten Islands in Norway are a gateway to the Arctic. In this video we travel to this incredible place that is seldom visited by outsiders... Read more

    The 27 June 2017 by   Kungfujedi
    OUTDOORS
  • Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival 2017

    Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival 2017

    In it’s 35th year, the Ottawa Dragon Boat festival is an attraction for outdoor music revellers, beach enthusiasts and competitive dragonboat racers. Read more

    The 27 June 2017 by   Hendrik Pape
    ENTERTAINMENT, MEDIA, MUSIC
  • Dirty Dancing (UK Tour) Review

    Dirty Dancing Tour) Review

    Cast Lewis Griffiths – Johnny Castle Katie Eccles – Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman Carlie Milner – Penny Johnson Julian Harries – Dr. Read more

    The 27 June 2017 by   Caz
    ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES
  • July 4th: Our Independence & A Whole Lot More

    July 4th: Independence Whole More

    Trivia will be happening this Wednesday night, June 28th at 8:30 PM, with "July 4th Trivia" as the Special Category. It will be seven questions about events tha... Read more

    The 27 June 2017 by   Theomnipotentq
    BASEBALL, SPORTS

Magazine