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August 17, 2011

Of Books And E-Books

I'm a reader. It doesn't matter where I see words, I read on paper, online and pretty much anywhere I see ideas...

...in print.

Whether you prefer paper to e-readers or online is up to you, but watch out for technologies that change all the time.

Here are some examples;

Microsoft is discontinuing its e-reader application Microsoft Reader. For more details, click here - http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Microsoft-Reader-Ebook-Application-Windows-EReader,news-12188.html.

I don't know how popular that particular e-reader app has been, but it's a good example of a promising technology that, after not too many years, seems to evaporate, leaving users stranded with no access to updates or new texts.

One of the aspects about books that I like the most is that a book written ten, twenty or even a hundred years ago could be read by any literate person today - or any time in the future.

One thing I've always like about actual paper books on a shelf, whether in a bookstore or library, is that, when I am looking for a particular book, I see similar, and sometimes better, books next to it.

There is finally a program like this for e-books. BookLamp.org was created to help readers find new books by comparing the content of the books, similar to the way that Pandora.com matches music lovers to new music. If you use Pandora, or Rhapsody or Spotify or any program like this, you will know that you enter a song or artist that you like and, based on your entry, the program will search for similar music.

Books, of course, are very different from songs. Booklamp focuses on what they call StoryDNA. Here's how they explain this idea from their website;

"Fundamentally, a story is made up of many components, but a good portion of it has to do with setting and content. Where does a story take place, and what are the elements that physically act in that story?"

....'Story Setting is defined by the environment that a story appears in, such as that it takes place in the forests, city, or on the sea. Story Actors, on the other hand, are the elements that act in the settings. An example of a Story Setting is the amount of "Forests & Trees" that appears in a book, vs "City Streets & Urban Environment" - two very different Story Settings. An example of a Story Actor would be "Medieval Weapons & Armor" - a physical instance that acts in the environment. To put this in perspective, a book with 30% Forests & Trees, along with 10% Medieval Weapons would be a very different story than 30% City Streets & Urban Environment, and the same 10% Medieval Weapons.'

Check out their website here - http://booklamp.org/index.php.

I love poking around in unlikely corners of cities, books and websites. I never know what unexpected discovery lies around the next corner or on the next page.

Send us any links or other resources that you think any teachers, students or even just regular people might find interesting or useful. Let us all know about words that make you crazy, aspects of language and expression you find challenging, and be sure to let us know what it is about English and language learning that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.


About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, USA and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle, WA, USA). And, as much as Morf loves writing this blog, he is always open to other opportunities either blogging or teaching. You can contact him at mmorf@mail.com.

Posted by mmorf at August 17, 2011 11:50 AM


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