Elizabeth Strout – Olive Kitteridge

OliveKitteridge_TP_flat_1500HThis book is a triumph. This book broke open everything that I knew about writing and character and setting that I could never wish to write as masterfully as Elizabeth Strout. Olive Kitteridge is a fantastically honest character with her biting neurosis scaring you away from the page. Olive is a wonderfully conflicted character with some fantastic humor and all the pock-marks of realism that Strout crafts beautifully. It is a wonder that this book isn’t more heralded as a modern masterpiece. This book will stay, and people will read this book ages and ages hence understand what it meant to live now. I cannot say enough about this book but too much is choking my clarity and ability to talk effectively about this work I just finished.

I will say that I read this entire novel, now the third of its kind completely on my new Nook. It is odd to never have held the actual novel for this work and say that I completed it. I didn’t develop that relationship with the physical book that sometimes happens. I got a Nook for my recent birthday from my wife, which I asked for, after doing some research on which e-book device would best fit my needs as a reader. I really like a lot about the Nook, mostly the audio feature because I listen to music most often while i read and the internet capabilities because I do like to check facebook, twitter, and email while I’m out sometimes. Buying books on the Nook is exceptionally easy and the reading experience is very convenient. I feel really conflicted by the nature of the device and what it means for books in general. I don’t know what it means for my book-buying and book reading going forward. During my time in college I acquired a lot of books because there was an extensive used book community. Taking all of this into consideration, i was skeptical at first about e-books and what it would mean to me. Do I continue to buy physical books? Will it feel weird after reading a few books on the Nook to read a physical book? Will this whole thing ruin my love and experience in reading books altogether?

This questions currently have answers, and some of which are different than you might expect. After coming to grips with the weight of this device and what it speaks into my life and the lives of all readers, I find that the device is convenient but ultimately not as useful nor as enjoyable as I would have hoped. Words are words and no matter how those words come to you, you will still be taken into the story if it is of any worth. So, I don’t know at this point if I will continue to use the Nook as my only source of reading whatsoever. E-books still have a long way to go before they rival the entirety of the physical book market. Peer journal articles will be a huge boost to the nature of the reading public. If they introduce Jstor or MLA Bibliography to the e-book market, then things will get really interesting. I am waiting for an academic e-book product and see what they allow.

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