I will preface my remarks by saying that I own a first generation Kindle. It was given to me by a friend who quickly purchased the second generation. The Kindle is a very good device for pure reading. It is possible to forget you are using a device rather than reading a book. If you are a purely recreational reader, this device is all you need. It will especially shine for the purposes of travel. You will have all the books you want and none of the strain on your carry-on bag.
For me, unfortunately, this is not enough.
I need the following features added to my electronic reader:
- An option to view a books pages just as they are in the actual book. As an academic and commentator, I need to be able to demonstrate exactly where I got a fact or idea. That means I need to be able to refer to a page number, not some electronic location. This problem could be conquered either by making books available as pdfs with a screen large enough to comfortably display them or the software could insert pagination throughout the text the same way Lexis-Nexis does. Either would work.
- The ability to mark and highlight the text. The Kindle lets me highlight portions of a text and even to view them as a group. However, I cannot easily track the page number from which the highlights came. And I cannot do anything other than highlighting. I need to be able to write in margins, bracket, underline, etc. Call it marginalia. I need to be able to do that. It would be even better if I could then access all the markings I did and have ready access to the page numbers from which they came. A good stylus would be necessary. I can’t do it all with fingerpainting.
- I’m getting greedy now. But how great would it be if I could choose portions of a text to email to a friend or to post to a blog?
- A notepad that could be used like evernote or microsoft note where I could write outlines or other notes in parallel to the books and articles I am reading.
Here are the features I don’t need:
- Wi-fi is a plus, but not essential. I could prepare all my tasks and then connect to a computer to do the things that require a connection.
- I do not need color e-ink. The black and gray works pretty well. If color e-ink costs me any features from above, then I don’t want it. And really, I’d rather just have black and white rather than black and gray. Color is not necessarily a big add for people who work with documents.
I very much hope some of the manufacturers and designers will read this post and consider coming up with a version that can do these things. There is a big market among academics, graduate students, college students, and authors for the device that works in this way. For me, the iPad goes far astray of what I’m seeking. Kindle is closer, but not close enough.
We were studying Philemon today, which deals with slavery.
As we talked, we concluded the mortgage is the modern day version of indentured servitude. You CAN discharge the obligation and once again be free.
The modern day analog to slavery is . . . the taxing authority of the government. And that burden cannot be discharged. They own you and it never ends as long as you live.
My son, Andrew, is seven, but he is a very good little reader. I may have mentioned before that in my despair at the amount of effort he was investing in reading about Pokemon, I put him on to Narnia. Since that time, I asked on this site and others for books I should encourage him to read. A number of people mentioned the books about Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Andrew read The Lightning Thief and then The Sea of Monsters.
Naturally, Andrew began talking about the books and so I decided to read them just to make sure they were okay and to be able to carry on a conversation with him about this new world of imagination. The Lightning Thief held my attention so well I found myself looking forward to lunchtime at work just so I could sit down with the book. I am now working on The Sea of Monsters.
I have been thinking about how much I have enjoyed these books. Consider the number of adults who read things like Percy Jackson or Harry Potter or Twilight. Why do so many adults like to read young adult fiction? I think I have the answer. I think we like to read it because it has limits. Young adult fiction has be judicious in the amount of sex and violence it contains. The descriptions can’t be quite as graphic or gratuitous. That means in order for a story to be successful, it really has to be good. A story has to have merit instead of relying on titillation of one kind or the other to succeed.
In an effort to prevent the loss of all the content I poured into the once semi-celebrated The Reform Club blog years back (we were once the blog to watch in Newsweek), I imported the posts from there into my archive. I have deleted many of the posts from other contributors, but there may be a few that belong to S.T. Karnick, Alan Reynolds, Ben Zycher, Jay Homnick, or others.
I’ve been quiet on the blogging front lately, confining myself mostly to a little Twitter and Facebooking. Don’t give up on me. All of my mental energy is focused on preparing the Gheens Lectures for Southern Seminary. When you accept an invitation like that, you basically guarantee that you’ll deliver the mail.
So, I’m pondering, working, writing.
The Big Hollywood blogger and actor Adam Baldwin, recently of the television series Chuckand Firefly, has taken up his virtual pen to defend Britt Hume from those who have criticized him for suggesting that Tiger Woods should consider Christianity in his time of crisis. Hume made the statement on Fox News Sunday, thus prompting outrage from secularists who find such an offering offensive and irrelevant.
Baldwin scores several times in his blog piece. Here is the foundation:
As an avid golfer, Christian man, and therefore a witness to the historic fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Mr. Hume clearly offered his message in good faith with honest concern for both Tiger’s future and for that of his family, friends, fans and business associates.
Look carefully at what Baldwin has written. Britt Hume believes Christianity is true and is based on an actual historical event. He is not adverting to some mystery religion (reach for the seventh level, Tiger), but is instead giving advice every bit as practical, or perhaps more so, than urging Mr. Woods to seek marital counseling or to find a good attorney.
This is what secularists simply do not understand. They think Christianity is “inaccessible” to others. It is not. You can accept it or reject it, but there is no reason for confusion. The basis of the faith is quite clear. Either you accept the evidence that the resurrection of Christ actually occurred in time and space or you do not. In no case should you accuse the Christian of hitting you with a bunch of magical mysteriousness that you cannot possibly understand.
You should really consider reading the entire post. Baldwin completely exposes the inappropriateness and unfairness of the comparisons of sincere Christianity to Jihad and deftly analyzes the pretensions of secularism. I could try to summarize, but would just end up reproducing his essay.