August 26, 2014

Chasing Tale [8/26/14]: Do Kindles Kill Brain Cells?

The Guardian discussed something that's been floating around for at least a couple years now, and that's the notion that e-readers are reducing our capacity to retain the books we are reading. I'm not sure how accurate this study is, because what it basically found was that between a mystery novel read in paperback form and on an iPad, the paperback readers were better able to list 14 specific plot points in the correct order. That's it. And it was apparently attributed to the tactile feel of the pages passing through the fingers while reading.

Fine. I have a Kindle, not an iPad, so is that thing making it harder for me to retain the details of the books I read. I don't think so. I haven't really put it to the test, though. I figure if anything is killing my brain cells, it's social media and reality TV, the latter I avoid like the bubonic plague. The one medium I've noticed a bit harder time in retaining details has been audiobooks, but that's because it is a very passive reading experience and I will occasionally allow my mind to wander with some random thought while the audiobook continues to play. That is something I need to work on.

So, what say you? What's your preferred reading method? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know, and let me know what you've been reading lately. Here's a bunch that I've added to my to-be-read shelf recently, too.

Hard Bite / Bite Harder by Anonymous-9 - Blasted Heath dropped the price on this one as an enticement, I assume, since the follow-up novel, Bite Harder, was released recently. C'mon, a crime novel with a helper monkey? You know you'd read that.

Inside Straight by Ray Banks - Another one from Blasted Heath, this time from Ray Banks. Nothing like a little British noir to throw onto the to-be-read pile.

The Infinite Battle: Star Hounds by David Bischoff - I received an Audible version of this sci-fi novel from its narrator, Bryan Reid. I haven't read any space-faring stuff in a while, so this should be a nice change of pace.

Borderline by Lawrence Block - I received an Audible version of this classic crime novel from the man himself. I've only just started getting into Block's work, mainly through his Scudder stories, but I'm quickly appreciating why he is so heavily praised by readers.

Thirty by Lawrence Block (as Jill Emerson) - Another audiobook by the man, but with a different narrator this time, as well from his previously published works as Jill Emerson. Steamy stuff from what I understand, too.

Crude Carrier by Rex Burns - Here's another much-heralded author who's been around for decades and I've yet to read his work. Well, Open Road Media will publish this one this fall, so maybe I'll just have to start with this one.

Wee Rockets by Gerard Brennan - More noir from Blasted Heath, this time around it's set in West Belfast with a gang of teen hoodlums and the shit they get up to. Ought to be good.

Night Kills by Ed Gorman - I found this for a couple bucks on the Kindle Store. A guy comes home and finds a dead hooker in his freezer, but he can't call the cops because of his shady past. Not a bad kick-start.

The Last Stop by Matthew Hanover - This was a short story Matthew sent me for review via Audible. A neat little Hitchcockian-style story by the sounds of it with a gaggle of strangers trapped on a train.

Once Upon a Sixgun by Lee Houston Jr., Nikki Nelson-Hicks, Mark Galineau, & Joseph King -A weird western won via Todd Keisling's recent Facebook release party. Thanks to Nikki for this one, and one further down the list.

Exorcist Road by Jonathan Janz - Janz has a new novel out this summer, which is weird because I could have sworn Castle of Sorrows just came out a couple months ago. Prolific little bastard, ain't he?

Long Lost Dog of It by Michael Kazepis -Broken River Books offered this noir novel as a freebie not too long ago, and considering the caliber of authors I've seen them publish, I downloaded this without hesitation.

Die for Me / Yesterday Is Dead / Speak for the Dead by Jack Lynch - Three more Jack Lynch novels slated for re-release soon from Brash Books.

The Ten Thousand Things by Tim Marquitz, J.M. Martin, & Kenny Soward - Some more weird western on my Kindle, this one a follow-up to Those Poor, Poor Bastards.

The Vagrants by Brian Moreland - In Samhain's horror line, I've bought or been given several books, but never one by Moreland that I can recall. Well, I fixed that with this short novel.

A Chick, a Dick, and a Witch Walk Into a Barn by Nikki Nelson-Hicks - This is a short story with a long title that I won, but by gawd, it sounds like it's right up my alley.

Less Than Human by Gary Raisor - Road house + vampires. Stop right there. I'm sold.

Lock-In by John Scalzi - I downloaded the Audible version of this to review. There are two versions apparently, by Amber Benson and Wil Wheaton. I went with the Benson one, but hard to go wrong either way I reckon.

Right Behind You by G.R. Wilson - A collection of nine "spooky "stories that are aimed at a YA-and-up audience. Hmmm. maybe some Brian Lumley or R.L. Stine inspired stuff, perhaps?

World War Cthulhu by various authors - I received my fundraiser's e-copy of this one shortly before its release. An anthology of gigantic, Lovecraftian apocalypse? Yeah, totally my cup of tea. Lots of cool artwork and a ton of stories to be read. Should be fun.


  1. Hi Gef, I like yer genre mashup. Thanks for the post. Anonymous-9

  2. Well, I am a genre mutt after all.

  3. I think the fact that people are retaining less from ebooks has less to do with the tactile aspect and more to do with how much faster they are reading on an e-reader.

    As for my method, I do all of the above. I'm not sure that I have a clear preference. I find myself reading a lot less print, though, just because the font is so small.

  4. We aren't so old we are complaining about font size now? Oh wait, yeah we are, because some of those books really do like using the kind of font where I actually am tempted to grab a magnifying glass. I think it was a Ken Follett novel I read once that was nearly microscopic in font size.