Thursday, August 05, 2010


As I mentioned a few postings back, I've been reading Trollope's The Way We Live Now on my phone. I wanted to report back on how this has worked out.

It's not the first book I've read on my phone, which is a Nexus One. The Nexus One - which has evidently gone out of production, sigh - has a great screen, competitive with the iPhone. It's easy on the eyes.

I started the experiment with John Buchan's The Thirty-Nine Steps, which is short. (The book bears some resemblance to the famous Hitchcock film but the screenplay invented great swaths of plot.) That worked out, so I thought, well, why not try something a little longer, a book I've wanted to read for a few years?

So I downloaded The Way We Live Now. I am delighted at just how well this is going. The Way We Live Now runs something between 750 and 1000 pages in print, amounting to 100 chapters. Carrying around a book of that size is a pain in the neck, and, of course, you can easily see just how much is left to read.

I'm using the free Aldiko reader on my phone. It has chapter listings, and you can find out what percentage of the book you've read, but there's no pagination, and of course I'm not lugging around a two-pound paperback or five-pound hardcover. I don't feel daunted by the length. I can read a chapter or two at leisure wherever I am - my living room, the bus to work, someplace I'm waiting. The reader picks up where I left off and provides various navigation aids if I want to jump back or forward. The Way We Live Now is in the public domain, as was The Thirty-Nine Steps, so I downloaded them for free.

I'm surprised and happy! I'm on chapter 39. And the other day I found that Ulysses is in the public domain.


N6TQS said...

I have fallen hard for reading books on my PDA which has a slightly smaller screen. And I was not happy to find that the Nexus 1 is apparently no longer available.
But I think a smartphone is in my near future.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Yeah, I was very sorry to see that we killed the Nexus One - it's a great phone. I've heard great things about other Android models, though.