quarta-feira, julho 15, 2009

Coisa preocupante: com os ebooks,deixaremos de poder julgar uma pessoa pela capa do livro que está a ler. Porra.*

We’ve all had that moment. That dial tone that hums in your head after you glance across the train aisle or spot someone perched upon a park bench or peer into the window at Starbucks and, based on the cover of the book a stranger is reading, zings the hope that he or she must be a kindred spirit, a literary soulmate, because you too dig Mary Gaitskill down to the nasty bone. Or perhaps it’s Netherland being held like a hymnal, the acclaimed novel by Joseph O’Neill that you keep meaning to read and never will, and here it is, being read with such care by someone so cute. If only you could strike up a chat, the two of you might stroll off like French lovers thrown together by capricious fate, scampering to take cover from the christening rain. Romantic fantasy isn’t the only driver of curiosity—our inner snob is always clicking away, doing little status checks. In New York City (can’t speak for the other metro systems across this great land), every subway car is a rolling library, every ride an opportunity to spy on the reading tastes of fellow passengers and make snap judgments that probably wouldn’t hold up in court. Single women in their 30s and 40s gripping a teenage-vampire tale or a Harry Potter—they seem to be hanging out a surrender flag. Those parading the latest Oprah selection might as well honk like geese. Then there are those who defy stereotype. A tall, straw-thin model glides into seated position and extracts a copy of concentration-camp survivor Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning from her bag, instantly making an onlooker (me) feel rebuked for assuming she was vacuous and self-centered based on her baby-ostrich stare. In the same car is another, older woman—do men not read anymore? (Seinfeld’s Jerry, defensively: “I read.” Elaine: “Books, Jerry”)—holding up a Kindle at an angle to catch the light. Unless you were an elf camped on her shoulder, what she was reading was hoarded from view, an anonymous block of pixels on a screen, making it impossible to identify its content and to surmise the state of her inner being, erotic proclivities, and intellectual caliber. She might be reading Alice Munro, patron saint of short-story writers, or some James Patterson sack of chicken feed—how dare she disguise her download from our prying eyes! And reading an e-book on an iPhone, that’s truly unsporting. It goes the other way as well. How can I impress strangers with the gem-like flame of my literary passion if it’s a digital slate I’m carrying around, trying not to get it all thumbprinty?


Reading will forfeit the tactile dimension where memories insinuate themselves, reminding us of where and when D. H. Lawrence entered our lives that meaningful summer. “Darling, remember when we downloaded Sons and Lovers in Napa Valley?” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

Ler o resto aqui.

* Título roubadíssimo daqui.

5 comentários:

Miss Kin disse...

Já há muito que não ando de transportes públicos, mas não me lembro de ver muita gente agarrada a livros, infelizmente!

Luna disse...

É inevitável fazermos esses julgamentos, e saudável também, porque a empatia nos gostos é também sinal de outras afinidades.
Não creio que irá tudo acabar, pois creio que os livros em papel irão continuar a existir - eu não me vejo com e-books, pessoalmente.

Rosa Cueca disse...

Não gosto do "toque" dos e-books.

Um monitor consegue ser uma coisa muito fria quando experimentamos as emoções de um livro.

triss disse...

Guilty. Acho que todos julgamos um bocadinho as pessoas, pelos livros que leem. Mas lê-se mais, muito mais. Não se pode é pedir que ande tudo a ler Duras, Faulkner, Coetze e outros que tais.
E-books? Isso para mim não é ler um livro, e não é mesmo.

morningstar disse...

caramba, não tinha pensado nisso!!

eu confesso que quero um kindle :-) mas também sei que se gostar de um livro vou ter que comprá-lo para o ter em casa, cheirosinho e bonito, em formato palpável.

passeio-me muitas vezes na rua com livros debaixo do braço, mas geralmente viro a capa para dentro. precisamente por ter a sensação de que, ao mostrar o livro, estou a revelar uma parte de mim.