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e-reading

joe 2011-11-07
http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_55d4fc830102dy56.html

the blogger makes two points: first, even classics fail if they come in the form of e-texts. second, printed matter is the test of writing. i somewhat agree with the blogger on the second point. blogging everyday can probably lead to fluency and a large quantity of words. this can give rise to a false impression that one is great at writing. the quantity can be very misleading. as soon as the writings are subjected to professional scrutiny, a lot of errors and imperfections can be exposed. i have had the experience myself. when i write something and publish it online, i do not spend time proofreading and even if i do, my opinion of the results is highly subjective. i may overestimate my literary prowess and i may be carried away by my own bias and excitement and false understanding of many things. as soon as i submit my texts to rigorous evaluation, i can spot numerous imperfections and experts can too. a few weeks ago, an expert went through my translation and underlin
http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_55d4fc830102dy56.html

the blogger makes two points: first, even classics fail if they come in the form of e-texts. second, printed matter is the test of writing. i somewhat agree with the blogger on the second point. blogging everyday can probably lead to fluency and a large quantity of words. this can give rise to a false impression that one is great at writing. the quantity can be very misleading. as soon as the writings are subjected to professional scrutiny, a lot of errors and imperfections can be exposed. i have had the experience myself. when i write something and publish it online, i do not spend time proofreading and even if i do, my opinion of the results is highly subjective. i may overestimate my literary prowess and i may be carried away by my own bias and excitement and false understanding of many things. as soon as i submit my texts to rigorous evaluation, i can spot numerous imperfections and experts can too. a few weeks ago, an expert went through my translation and underlined many words which looked dubious and misused and abnormal. i had expected such a rigorous finding but i found i had overestimated my ability to write well. that is why i find the blogger is right in pointing out the huge difference between printed texts and online blogging.

what makes the difference is not one's ability to write. what makes the difference is whether one's writing goes through rigorous editing work. it is a wide-known fact that a published writer rewrites numerous times, a process of relentlessly making sentences perfect and ironing out imperfections and errors and mistakes. even established writers need good editors to read their manuscripts and make corrections.

i can't see eye to eye with the blogger about the power of classics. probably my reading experience isn't wide and enriched enough to understand the difference. i haven't felt that a real book and an e-book can be different. no, i haven't read a great many classics in the form of e-texts. but the e-books i read i have enjoyed. i don't know whether they can become more interesting if i read them again in the form of real books. one of the reasons the blogger failed to appreciate the power of e-books is probably he has read these classical books in the paper form before and now what failed him is not the e-books, but the second time or third time he goes to the books. a book can be intriguing in the first reading, but it may fail to allure the second time around. though great books can survive reading again and again, they too can't create the first impression as poignant and powerful as the first time they do. an experienced reader who loves classics probably got the reading experience years ago when these classics were in the form of printed matter. the first impression prevails and the second-round impact of the same books is not as power as the first time.

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