Art Vent

Letting the Fresh Air In

Footnotes, iPads, age and love

November 30, 2010 - 8:31am -- Carol Diehl

Speaking of citations, reading a book on an iPad (I haven’t used a Kindle), is a distinctly different experience. For one thing, there’s no need for an index because you can search, which is a boon to readers and publishers alike. But unless you can remember key words, leafing back to find something you want to reread can be laborious. With a “real” book, I was always able to find what I was searching for by somehow remembering where it was placed—right or left page, top or bottom—a helpful phenomenon that doesn’t exist when they’re all single pages. You can highlight paragraphs and make notes, but there doesn’t seem to be any way to collect them—or even find them again with any ease, which makes doing research extremely cumbersome. And as far as citations go, because every reader uses a different size font, page numbers are no longer useful for identifying where a quote occurs. 

Anyway, this is the quote that prompted that digression:

I can’t retire until I croak. There’s carping about us being old men. The fact is, I’ve always said, if we were black and our name was Count Basie or Duke Ellington, everybody would be going, yeah yeah yeah. White rockers are apparently not supposed to do this at our age.

Keith Richards, Life, Chapter 13.

Or if their names were Chuck Berry or Little Richard—a curious example of socially sanctioned ageism and racism. In discussing this over lunch the other day, my Latino friend pointed out that older Latinos dancing are always cool, where whites have to take shit if they’re over 40—unless, our 25-year-old companion observed, your name is David Bowie, in which case you can get away with anything.

Or Patti Smith, I’m thinking now, her memoir about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, Just Kids, a treatise on the nature of love, being the latest thing I consumed on my iPad, inhaling it in one day.

I found this on the Web, unattributed, but it’s clearly from the shoot Mapplethorpe did for the famous cover of Smith’s album “Horses,” one of just 12 photos he took that afternoon. (copyright may apply).


Submitted by Katharine (not verified) on
try a kindle. you can bookmark passages and keep them. I love to save them and it is easy to find them again. I like that I can keep the kindle in my purse- great for travel. The ipad looks like fun but just for reading the kindle has some advantages. Though the fact that you can't lend "books" is a bummer.

Lending books is my life. No matter how many I give away, I still end up with more. And I also can't stand staring at a light source for extended periods. I heard of a library at some prep school in Massachusetts which made the front page of the Globe last year because it was building a brand new facility entirely without books. So I know I am extremely derrière garde about all this. But I just can't read much of anything on a computer screen. My eyes won't take it.

I don't like staring at a computer screen, but I do love the backlit iPad--which is adjustable, very handy on a dark airport bus.

And while I don't need reading glasses, being able to enlarge the type makes reading less tiring.

I certainly love the instant gratification--reading a review and downloading it immediately, rather than waiting for it to come out in paperback or getting in line at the library.

If your really can highlight and transport passages from the Kindle, it would be worthwhile.

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