In reviewing Bob Woodward’s new book, Obama’s Wars, I made my first foray into the world of e-books. First times are never all that pleasurable, are they? Getting the book online was a no-brainer. Obama’s Wars was embargoed and it would be faster to get it Monday morning first thing than wait for the stores to open. So it was loaded on Booklist‘s shiny new iPad, and I started reading. My main problem with it was that it wasn’t a book. I know how to hold a book, how to flip back and forth in a book, how to underline a passage. Suddenly, these were all new skills to be learned.
With the lightest touch of a finger, I managed to move from page 3 to page 580 and it took me a while to figure out how to find my way back. Making notes? Well, clearly there was a way to do that, because a pad of yellow post-its would magically appear, but then they’d disappear before I could write anything. In any case, I wasn’t sure I could find them when I needed them, so I just jotted the things down the old fashioned way, with a pencil. The hardest part, though, was having to be so careful of the iPad. I tend to drop books. I’ve dropped more than a few in the bathtub, but perhaps because I didn’t own this device, I was conscious of it every moment, which does tend to cut into reading pleasure. Not that Obama’s Wars was all that pleasurable. When it comes to Afghanistan, we’re pretty much screwed.