22 March 2011

A Warning About eBooks (Discovery of Witches)

There is a danger in eBooks that no one warns you about. Yes, my nook has a little pages read and pages remain counter in the bottom right hand corner, but the more involved I am in a story the less I pay attention to it. This can be dangerous. This morning I was innocently reading a Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. It’s a very good book, well written, I got very involved in the story and was quite enjoying myself. In fact I was enjoying myself so much I had forgotten to pay attention to that page counter.

Suddenly I clicked the button to go to the next page and found I was at the end of the book. It’s like that moment of confusion when your car quits responding to your input and it takes you a second to make the connection that this means you are out of control. Then quite often there is a moment of pain while the laws of physics sort themselves out.

I mean I see why the story ended there and if I had seen it coming, I would have been okay with it. I would have put my mental seatbelts on. I mean it’s a perfectly reasonable place to break a longer story. I have no argument with the flow of the story and not much of a complaint that there wasn’t a bigger emotional payoff at the end of what I sincerely hope is volume one of a longer story. There is even something refreshing about a volume one that doesn’t have the simplistic episodic story arch of a television show.

But I feel there needs to be more awareness about the possible psychic injury that can be caused by carelessly reading eBooks and unexpectedly hitting the end. It’s not something that usually happens with bound books where the simple act of holding the book and turning the pages is telling your brain how much story is left in the volume you are holding. Actually this is why I despise long preview chapters in the back of books. To a less degree those have sometimes caught me unawares. But it’s been a long time since I have had a violent collision with an acknowledgements page as I did this morning.

I sincerely hope Ms. Harkness is hard at work writing the rest of the story. If the continuation of the story is as good as its beginning I will happily forgive her the throbbing pain currently behind my temple. In the meantime please read safely and keep an eye on the page counter.

A Discovery of Witches: A Novel*

*Amazon Associate Link

No comments: