Monday, 29 June 2009

Digital books

All the talks and discussions about the Google Book settlement and Scribd, who are trying to digitize millions of books to make them available on the internet, got me thinking about my idea of a book. I have always been a book lover, and there are certain book series I have been collecting for a long time. It is a wonderful feeling to see the complete series of a book standing on my shelf. I also have a thing for first editions of books, the older the better. I like being able to stand in front of my book case to choose a book I haven’t read in a while.
Now there are a lot of people who read their books on the computer or on their e-reader. They just buy this book as a file online. Granted, you can save a lot of space when you have all your books as files. But personally, I cannot imagine reading a book on a screen. I spend too much time on the computer anyway. Also, laptops and e-readers are quite expensive, and I wouldn’t want to take either of them with me on a holiday. On the beach they could easily get damaged by sun, water or sand. And certainly they would hold more of an attraction to steal than your paperback book. There are also some places where you should not turn on some electrical devices, like in hospitals or in planes during take-off and landing. You have to be careful about that, too.
I might be a bit sentimental when it comes to that, but a book to me is still something I can touch, hold in my hand, take with me everywhere and put onto my bookshelf.

I understand the need to digitize very old books though. There are a lot of great books that aren’t available anymore nowadays. And there are also a few books without an existing copyright holder. To have these books on the Internet does make sense.
But other than that I prefer having a real book. And I have been talking to a couple of people who share my ideas. One of them said she likes reading a book while taking a bath. Now that would be really difficult if you have your book only as a file.

I am interested what you guys out there think, though. If you want to share you views, feel free to do so.

So long, Susanne

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Being a foreigner

A while ago I have read one of our books, “Farang”, by author Dr Iain Corness. He fell in love with Thailand during a holiday there and moved there permanently in 1997. Since then he has experienced numerous strange things. In a hilarious way Corness describes the differences between our western culture and the Thai culture. From dangerous animals inhabiting the kitchen, building work that takes months and months, the weirdest laws to the ritual of moving into a new house – everything is different in Thailand. Based on his experiences a new book by the author will be published this year, which I can’t wait to read.

Although Ireland and Germany may not be as different as Germany and Thailand would be, after nearly three months of living here I have come across things that are typical, so it seems, for Ireland. For example, the Irish seem to love to talk about the weather. It’s not important if the topic has been discussed with a person, if the day brings a change it will be discussed again. I think it’s just wonderful how much time one can talk about the weather here before getting bored. Another thing I have come across is the Barber shops. In Germany men and women nearly always go to the same hairdresser. I haven’t seen a hairdresser only for either men or women. Imagine my surprise when I realised that at least two hairdressers in my village are “prohibited” to me.

Other than that I think there are not too many differences between Ireland and Germany. We certainly both suffer from the economy at the moment! Anyway, I am excited about the new book, “Farang: The Sequel” coming out soon, as it helps me to see how easy it is for me to live in Ireland. I am sure that living in Thailand or, in fact, in any Asian country, would be far more difficult and certainly very different.

That’s it from me,

so long, Susanne