Roger L. Simon

Reading War and Peace on my iPhone

Flying back from the East Coast Sunday night I ran out of things to read and the sound system on my JetBlue seat was broken. For a moment, possibly, I was reduced to meditating… but like the character in Annie Hall I had forgotten my mantra.

Suddenly, I remembered I had downloaded an application for my iPhone called BookZ and with it a few classics from the Gutenberg project, including War and Peace. Dare I? This wasn’t a triple around the world flight. It was only New York-LA and I was already somewhere over Kansas. So what? I touched a couple of icons and up popped Tolstoy. I started reading.

Now here’s the surprising thing: in BookZ form (quite legible with a yellowish background resembling parchment) the book was much more enjoyable than I remembered. I was immediately riveted, glued to the story on the tiny screen. Pages flew by. Well, 2% of the book – they give you a little bar that registers percentage read. We’ll see if I finish it this time, especially since I don’t have a comp lit exam staring me in the face as I did in college. But, in any case, this was my first real attempt to read on my iPhone and I am impressed. Like most of us, I have a pretty full work day (and beyond), but I yearn to get back to the world of Pierre and Prince Andrew. If I could only figure out a way to read it in the car… [No, you don’t!!!-ed.]