Bits and Bytes of Storytelling

bytesInteresting article in Sunday’s NYTimes Book Review section asked more than a dozen authors to talk about how new and changing technologies affect their storytelling. The writers commenting include Lee Child, Marisha Pessl, Frederick Forsyth, Douglas Coupland, Emily Giffin, and Ander Monson, among others. I love Margaret Atwood‘s response: “Do new technologies change what plot devices are available for writers of fiction? Do chickens have beaks? The answer is, of course. So it has always been. Your practice test: Rewrite Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Purloined Letter,” using present-day communications technology. Go to it. I’m sure there are a hundred brilliant solutions to the puzzle of “The Purloined E-Mail.”

Read what the other authors have to say and then check the EPL catalog for their works.


Who’s e-reading over your shoulder?

National Public Radio aired a fascinating story yesterday about the user-data generated by e-reading devices.  It’s not hard for publishers (and authors) to track whether you finish a book–and even, if you didn’t, how many pages you read before you quit.  This kind of information is clearly useful, and “misuseful.”  Will our literature become as market-driven as our politics?  Will a poetry collection be focus-group-tested prior to publication?

– Jeff

New Technology Changes Old Habits on CTA

Another subtle way technology has affected society: it’s not as easy as it used to be to see what your neighbor on the train is reading. Is this aspect of people watching kaput? Thoughtful article in the Tribune complete with a map of who’s reading what throughout the CTA system.

Shira S.

Publisher Issuing E-book Days After Bin Laden’s Death

Technology is permitting something that could not be done only a few years ago- a book is being released only several days after the subject’s demise. Random House‘s editor Jon Meacham is collecting essays which should be available this coming Monday in e-book format. Watch for more to follow on related topics.

Shira S.

Interface of Technology and Books— Where Are We Headed?

Lately much has been written about the various aspects of the gains of e-books on the traditional print market and how publishing and consuming books will continue to change. We are riding the wave of this new technology in a manner similar to that of the past when the VCR, cell phone, PC, etc., all took center stage. Here are a few blog posts and articles looking at some aspects of our current fascination with e-books and its impact on old-fashioned books and even the Internet. See ReadWriteWeb blog for an interesting assortment of ideas relating to these themes. Likewise Michael Hyatt has a few points to add to the debate.  I’m including this group of links regarding environmental effects of e-books, too.If you have another angle to add, go ahead.

Shira S.

Your Brain on Computers

Matt Richtel, technology reporter for the NY Times, has written some great features about the effect on our brains of being constantly plugged into digital devices, cellphones, and e-mail.  His conclusion? Giving our brains downtime improves attention spans, memory, learning, and concentration. In other words, an uncluttered mind is a very good thing.

Mary B., Reader’s Services