Morphologically, my Kindle belongs to the genus of handheld devices and tablets more than that of books or libraries. And it’s almost Pavlovian by now to consume on-screen information by briskly clicking, scrolling, or otherwise refreshing a screen when we’re in front of one. It’s what we do during screen time, after all. With my Kindle, this inclination toward novelty and rapid clicking informs my reading. I have a sense of rushing forward in a straight line toward the end.
A mystery or thriller, even by an author I admire such as Laura Lippman, tends to get read on Kindle. This makes sense. Given its bias toward linearity and efficient movement from point A to endpoint B, the Kindle works best for me with plot-driven works, or when I’m reading for the plot, and I have lower expectations for intellectual provocation.
True, nothing prevents me from lingering on Loc. 3274, where I currently find myself in an e-book. In reality, however, it doesn’t happen. My Kindle screen is a cold, ascetic place. I’d no more linger on its page than I’d hang out at an airport security gate, or a dentist’s waiting room. The Kindle’s form invites a more linear reading experience for me than reading a book in hand, which more richly engages all of my senses.
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