I am about halfway into my first book on the Kindle. I’m reading James Shapiro’s discussion of the Shakespeare authorship question: Contested Will. I am happy to report that I love reading on the Kindle. The digital e-ink display is easy to read. I quickly lost myself in the book, and I even discovered a couple of advantages of reading on the Kindle as opposed to paper.
- When I read lying down, the book is easier to manage, and I don’t have to do that awkward shifting thing you have to do when you change sides of the book.
- I am not shuffling through the book as much. I am re-reading a little less. The focus is on the page at hand.
- I’m not trying to calculate how much I have until the end constantly. I already know.
- I am not flipping to the end to see what Shapiro will discuss next. I imagine the benefits of not flipping to the end will be even greater with fiction as I won’t be as tempted to ruin the ending.
Admittedly, the reason I’m not doing 2 and 4 is that they’re a little harder to do on the Kindle, though not impossible. I like knowing the percent of the book I’ve read, so there is no need to flip to the end, subtract the number of pages I’ve read, and compute the percentage.
One disadvantage is that I do like to read in the tub, and I can’t bring the Kindle into the tub.
I am finding it just as easy to disappear into a book, and so far, no problems losing my place.
As to the book, I have read about the history of the claims of Baconian and Oxfordian camps, both of which I found interesting. I am finding the book to be a fair-minded discussion of alternative theories of authorship. As Rob Hardy, an Amazon reviewer, writes, “Shapiro is never condescending.” Another reviewer notes that “this book is the most sympathetic and serious analysis of [anti-Stratfordian] views they are likely ever to receive from a legitimate scholar who does not agree with them.” Still, Shapiro is correct is that the zeal some have shown for their particular views on the authorship question borders on religion. It’s amazing to me that we live in an age when the simplest explanation is no longer the best—conspiracy and hidden agendas are favored over history. I find it intriguing too that the Oxfordians have been so successful in promoting their candidate that many folks believe that people who believe Shakespeare wrote the plays ascribed to him are the nutters.
I’m looking forward to reading Shapiro’s case for Shakespeare next. Shapiro said many expressed disappointment that he was tackling this issue in a book, but I’m glad he did.