Four simple words begin the narrative of M. Clifford's The Book: "Don't Read The Book".The questions that this book sparks about the digital revolution in the publishing industry are the foundation of conversations I have had multiple times in the break room at work, on the train or the bus in the city, and even in my online book club. Though I don't own one, I see the inherent handiness of devices such as the Kindle, the Nook, Sony's eReader, and the iPad. (My reasons for not owning one are strictly financial ones - I would adore the convenience but I fear that my book-buying budget for the year would be spent in a matter of weeks with the convenience of one touch shopping.) But I'd love to raise the conversation here.
Holden's awakening comes in a Chicago bar called The Library, a tribute to the recycled book pages that wallpaper the venue. Upon seeing his name on an antique page from his favorite book, Holden's eyes are opened, not only to the powerful mystique of the printed word, but to the alterations from the original text that exist in the digital version he read his whole life.
M. Clifford's writing style is fresh and unique. The gripping story proves him to be an expert storyteller, beautifully weaving together political intrigue, suspenseful action, intricate relationships, and philosophical discussion. His descriptive techniques encourage the reader to engage with the writing - to enjoy the language as much as the story. It is a novel to be both savored and devoured. There are books which are meant to be read, respected, and reshelved, but The Book is one which lingers in my mind after the final pages have been viewed. It is a conversation starter as much as a story, drawing on themes such as the benefits and pitfalls of technology. Clifford's work sheds light on new thoughts and raises unanswerable questions but it could just be that the resolution is not nearly as valuable as the inquiry.
Do you have a digital reading device and what do you see as the advantages/disadvantages compared to paper books? Do you think that the prevalence of digital books has changed or will change society's views on the value of the printed word?