A technophile lawyer rediscovers the joys of pen and paper

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Anna Quindlen on "The Future of Paper and Pen"

Or so says the cover of this week's (April 5) Newsweek (If you look below the giant picture of the iPad that dominates the cover). Her column is not so much about the future of pen and paper as it is about the future of reading in light of continuing technological development and the popularity of digital formats. This comment, in particular, should give some comfort to those of us who like to feel the book in our hands:
The book is dead, I keep hearing as I sit writing yet another in a room lined with them. Technology has killed it. The libraries of the world are doomed to become museums, storage facilities for a form as antediluvian as cave paintings. Americans, however, tend to bring an either-or mentality to most things, from politics to prose. The invention of television led to predictions about the demise of radio. The making of movies was to be the death knell of live theater; recorded music, the end of concerts. All these forms still exist—sometimes overshadowed by their siblings, but not smothered by them. And despite the direst predictions, reading continues to be part of the life of the mind, even as computers replace pencils, and books fly into handhelds as well as onto store shelves. Anton Chekhov, meet Steve Jobs.
I am still in a love-hate relationship with technology. Still love my iPhone and my Mac, but moving more and more toward paper. And I never did like reading newspapers or other extended reading on screen. (Blogs, of course, are fine!)  Everything digital just seems like it must be hurried. It's hard to imagine relaxing with a Kindle the way I can with a book.


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