Thursday, 25 November 2010

Sony ereader

So I went and got an ereader, Sony Touch prs600 on Ebay America brand new in a sealed pack for €169 inc postage. In Ireland it would have cost €290 plus I'd have to carry it home. This is the rip-off-republic here.

It has a great variety of formats and a touch screen with a stylus for notes. The only books I will probably read on it will be free downloads from Gutenberg. I first downloaded The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton. The small print is small and in artificial light I put on a pair of magnifying glasses. I could go to medium print or small print in landscape mode but that requires too many page turns. The background is grey which is easy on the eyes but I prefer traditional black on white which ought to be offered .

Verdict on the book which I haven't finished yet. So far I find its plot a clone of The House of Mirth written more melodramatically. It doesn't have the constant irony that can blow like an enervating bise which that book has and the turns of consciousness when there is a sudden lurch that indicates the secret life of the creative unconscious has taken over. It takes an artist to make that departure from clockwork credible. It may have been a pot-boiler or a chateau makeover still she's always readable. She is of course a tres grand snob and has all the prejudices of her class and period. Myers of 'A Commonplace Blog' likes her which is strange as she is casually anti-semitic.

Having now finished it I can say that although her language is good her themes hardly change from novel to novel and certain patterns recur. A manipulative beautiful woman finds that the financial assistance she gets from an infatuated rich man leaves her compromised. This man is boorish but possesed of low cunning a type of the rich sportsman that recurs in Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Of course they are still with us but lack bards to sing their glory. However Wharton tries the irony of alternative fates for her heroines. Lily perishes, Undines flourishes.

P.S. You will read that it is disadvantaged for reference purposes because the page numbers are altered. This is not correct. In small size font, the original page numbers are given in tiny font at the right margin where they occur.