Our Many Screens

Friedersdorf interviews Alan Jacobs about reading in the digital age and good reasons to memorize poetry:

Tim Bray wrote a fascinating post just the other day in which he pointed out that screen resolution of modern devices is just now approaching the pixel density that approximates print. Once we cross that threshold, many kinds of books, especially those featuring images, will become more plausible candidates for digital presentation.

That said, the paper codex is here to stay -- but whether it will remain dominant, well, I'm not so sure about that. And it is being complemented by multiple devices that alter the reading experience. Book-lovers tend to sneer about "the screen" -- and some techno-utopians bow down before "the screen" -- but in fact there are many different kinds of screens that we respond to, cognitively and emotionally, in very different ways. Reading a novel on a Kindle or a Nook is much closer to the experience of reading it on a paper codex than reading it on your laptop would be: you turn pages rather than scroll, you have no other tabs open, email and Twitter aren't pinging you, there are no (or few) hyperlinks. . . . I actually had the experience of having my reading concentration renewed when I got my Kindle. It helped me to get back to long-form reading, which my online life had made harder for me.