Regular readers of this blog might recall the excitement I expressed at acquiring my Kindle, around six months ago. The excitement hasn't abated. Reading articles, magazine issues (e.g. Slate), newspapers, dissertation chapters and draft essays*, occasionally whole books on my Kindle has become part of my routine. Saves paper (especially those drafts!), carries with me most places...it's the portable library its advocates claim.
Today a new iPhone application is being released - Kindle for iPhone (and iTouch). This means merely that through my iPhone I can read all the books that are stored for me by Amazon through my Kindle account. Not ideal for, let's say, a weekend-long read of Ulysses. Nor would I ever, at home, pick up my iPhone to read these books when I can use my Kindle. But for the train, for waiting in long lines, for the days when I meant to bring my Kindle but have forgetten it, having this phone access to the library will be fabulous for me. And it would give me pleasure to ponder a page of Joyce in the supermarket. The phone these days is always in the pocket.
Here's a passage from today's NYT story:
Starting Wednesday, owners of these Apple devices can download a free application, Kindle for iPhone and iPod Touch, from Apple’s App Store. The software will give them full access to the 240,000 e-books for sale on Amazon.com, which include a majority of best sellers.
* Oh yes, as you might know, the Kindle set-up permits one to email oneself any text in familiar formats (e.g. Word, PDF, html). So if a colleague sends me the draft of a 30-page paper for a quick read and response, I can email it to myself at my @kindle account and within minutes it will be on the Kindle, readable in book-like page view.
Marjorie Perloff's PennSound page includes a talk she gave at the Writers House on Frank O' Hara, Jasper Johns, and John Cage in the Sixties; a reading from her memoir, The Vienna Paradox, at Buffalo; and remarks she gave at a 2004 conference on secular Jewish culture and radical Jewish poetic practice. All three recordings are very good - and quite different from each other. But it's surely not enough Perloff, so we'll get out there looking for more. I recommend David Zauhar's essay on her 1990s output, but it seems almost time for someone to assess her 00's too. Marjorie is good at many things. For the moment my favorite of her targets (often of satire) is the sorry state of mainstream literary journalism. Zap! Zing!
The death of books? Maybe, depending on how narrowly you define "books." Take John Cheever's brilliant early (first?) short story, "Goodbye, My Brother." There are more ways to read this text than one could have imagined ten years ago when it was already deemed a classic. By now it's seemingly everywhere!
(1) It's in Vintage Cheever, a book that Random House has made available online in full text.
(2) Here's a Google books version of the story, "Goodbye, My Brother": link.
(3) Here's the Amazon entry for Cheever's Collected Stories: link.
(4) And here's the Kindle edition: link.
(5) And finally the story is on the web (although password-protected): link.
I'm happily using a new iPhone application that works pretty seamlessly with blogger. I can't imagine what real advantage this gives me or anyone other than sheer speed and super-presence or ridiculous immediacy. Yet isn't blogging already so immediate (at least in tone and diction) as to be ridiculous? Yet again I can imagine real live-blogging - for instance from a reading or art event. I'll try it soon so stay tuned. The photo below I found just now in my phone's camera log - taken during the reception last week at our Silliman celebration. Erin Gautsche and the KWH students went through "The Alphabet" looking for food references and then served us only items mentioned in Ron's poetry. I was never gladder than at that moment that Ron had spent so much time in California. He is by no means a foodie poet (an understatement) but the New Sentence does tend to grab up a few of the nutritions in the environment. "I don't mean to presume uh if you could it seems that is I only intended apples and oranges" (from Garfield, p. 49).