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The New Mexican's Weekly Magazine of Arts, Entertainment & Culture Friday, July 25, 2014

Type A: Clicking our way to distraction

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Posted: Friday, February 14, 2014 5:00 am | Updated: 5:31 pm, Thu Feb 20, 2014.

One only had to read the first sentence in the “Deluxe Reading Group Edition” ebook of Paula McLain’s novel The Paris Wife, based on the love affair between Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley, to come across a striking example of the promise and pitfalls of electronic publishing.

“Though I often looked for one,” reads the opening sentence, “I finally had to admit that there could be no cure for Paris.” The last word appears in blue. Tapping the word with a finger, the reader is transported to a five-paragraph essay about Hemingway’s arrival in Paris and what the city was like at the time. Two pages (actually, two finger swipes) later, the words “cafés of Montparnasse” also appear in blue. Tapping here, one learns about the famed Paris neighborhood, along with how Hemingway included scenes from its iconic cafés in The Sun Also Rises.

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2 comments:

  • Elizabeth Pettus posted at 6:33 am on Wed, Feb 19, 2014.

    tfiner Posts: 27

    the book "The shallows, what the internet is doing to our brains" analyses this issue in detail. the hyperlinks within text create an impossible confusions if one is attempting to actually glean information from the reading material. test subjects who were given essays on World War II wit hyperlinks became confused about who was fight ing whom and who ran which nation (what this says about their ignorance before reading the essays I shudder to think).
    but, as a high percentage if US High school students currently believe the US and Germany were allies in WWII , this is certainly no surprise.
    while e readers save trees, and make carrying books easier, the text enhancements, while entertaining, do not add to retention, they wreck it.

     
  • David French posted at 8:36 am on Fri, Feb 14, 2014.

    vajraview Posts: 1

    Scary stuff about the ways in which the distractions of enhanced e-books can reduce retention of information by young readers (though we might have guessed that would happen...). What an excellent piece about the many opportunities for and consequences of "enhancing" books. Thank you for the article.

     
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