Reading in the 21st century


Reading never goes out of style, even in the age of technology.

In the August 1894 issue of Scribner’s magazine, an article by Octave Uzanne, predicted “The End of Books,” proposing that in the 20th century, the printed page will be replaced by “storyographs,” patented cylinders containing recordings of books, and writers replaced by “Narrators”  that read stories aloud for the recordings. Uzanne imagines today’s libraries transformed into “phonographotecks” or “phonostereoteks,” repositories for the “storyographs.” He also imagined portable players that he called “pocket phono-opera-graphs.”

While Uzanne’s predictions almost accurately cover audiobooks, ebooks, mp3 players, and personal ebook readers, he was wrong on one count: the introduction of these technologies did not herald the end of books, but rather gives the 21st century person new ways to enjoy the printed page, enhancing the reading experience for the page-turner.

mibfThe Manila International Book Fair lists the top reading technologies, proving just how relevant reading still is in the 21st century.

As the Manila International Book Fair, the paramount event of the Philippine book industry, marks its 30th anniversary this year on Sept 16-20 at the SMX Convention Center, it once again welcomes book lovers to celebrate it celebrates the written word in all its forms.

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Lovin’ my Thumbthing!

I wandered into Powerbooks while waiting to be seated at Saisaki for lunch last Sunday and discovered a nifty new gadget that’ll help me reach my target of over 234 books this year: the Thumbthing.
As soon as I saw it on the counter, I just knew I had to have it — it’s perfect for people like me, who attempt to read at practically any given opportunity, regardless of logistics (hehehe, MRT, bathtub, the loo, in bed, jeep, trike, while cooking, while watching tv, while eating, etc…). My sister was like, what, P150, for that little thing?!? But I ignored her, because I considered it a good investment.

The dynamics are hard to explain, so I’m borrowing a diagram from the ThumbThing website to explain:

And here it is in action:

It’s been four days and I’m thoroughly enjoying this little thingamajig, which makes juggling a book so much easier for me, especially when I’m multi-tasking. The ergonomic design allows you to hold a book open with one hand, freeing your other hand to attend to other things. It doesn’t break the spine of the book (yay!), and it doesn’t obscure the text either, because the wings fit neatly in between the lines.

You can also use it as a bookmark, although strictly for leaving books on flat surfaces — it’ll probably get dislodged when you stow it inside a bag.

I’ve tried it on different books, and it works perfectly on everything from mass market paperbacks to standard hardcover novels. Doesn’t work on magazines and coffeetable books, but I think that’s asking for too much. Also doesn’t turn the pages for you, but then again, a page-turning device is also asking for too much.

It comes in a variety of sizes (mine’s a small and it fits perfectly) and colors (I wanted a pink or blue but they didn’t have it in my size so I had to get purple) too. My tiny complaint — I wish they had thought of adding a little hole to thread a handstrap or an id strap through for people like me who tend to lose (knock on wood) or misplace little things like this. Oh, and I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m foreseeing a juggling act reading in the dark with my Lumos booklight on.

Hmm, maybe I should stock up — I could try reading two books at a time, one in each hand!

(Clarification: not a sponsored post, despite my rave review :D)

Rating: 5/5 stars!