Being a cradle Catholic, I have always regarded the enthusiasm of converts with amused suspicion. Many of them seem to lack the elasticity and good humor ingredient in that most important statement of Genesis: God made the world and saw it was good.
In the last few months, however, I think I have experienced some of that fervor that makes makes converts such an amusing if often exasperating spectacle for the rest of us. My minor metanoia regarded technology, not ontology. For years I had been a stalwart partisan of the PC. I regarded the whole world of Apple computers with disdain. Looking back on it now, I see that the first step was the irretrievable one: I traded in my Blackberry for an iPhone. From there, it was but a short step to an iMac, then a MacBook Pro, Apple TV and, of course, an iPad.
I always regarded the Kindle reading device as an expensive paperweight. My office at Encounter Books owns one but no one actually uses it. We’ve downloaded a few books just to see if they exist — they do — but we’ve generally been disappointed by how they look.
Reading books on the iPad is something else again. Aesthetically, typographically, there is still some way to go — the fact that (as far as I know) you cannot specify which fonts a given book will display is a big liability in my view. But leaving that to one side, books look terrific in iBooks, the iPad reader of choice. (But Kindle users do not despair: the books you bought from Amazon look great on the Kindle app for the iPad.) Which brings me to the denouement of this little tale: as of just a week or two ago, a whole suite of Encounter Books are available for the iPad through iBooks (and Kindle). Included in the the first big batch of titles is my book The Rape of the Masters. Any readers interested in “how politics sabotages art”? Of course there are! Now you can download and read it on your iPad. Three cheers for technology!