on not remembering the name of the novel you’re reading…

Ok, so I’ve confessed to reading George RR Martin’s The Song of Ice and Fire books.  The thing is, I can never remember either his name, or the title of the book I’m reading (just started the third).  Why?

Is it because they’re not the sort of books I usually read?  It’s not only the genre – fantasy – but also the style of writing.  They spin a very compelling narrative thread, there are some amazing imagined places (I’ve not seen the HBO tv series but would love to see how it imagines the ice Wall) and some great characters – Tyrion makes me laugh out loud – but they’re certainly not great Literature; descriptions are repeated, phrasings are clunky, and there’s rather too many glistening manhoods for my taste.  So am I just too much of a snob to want to remember who wrote them or what they’re called?

No, I tell myself.  Actually, it’s because I’ve been reading them on an ebook device, a Kindle to be precise.  And with ebooks you just don’t get the front cover experience.  Don’t get me wrong, I really like my Kindle; it’s very easy to use, very portable, and I’ve read more books in the five months I’ve had it than in the previous three years, I reckon (for some reason downloading an ebook is easier than shelling out in a bookshop, maybe because the choice of what to read doesn’t feel so overwhelming).  But what I do miss with my Kindle is that front cover.  Where’s the author’s name every time you decide to read?  Where’s the title?  Where are the carefully chosen image and typeface, signalling genre so clearly?  The Kindle doesn’t show them every time you start to read a book; instead, it opens the book at the page you last looked at.  Very helpful for continuing to read; but not so good at letting you remember just what it is you’re reading…

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