Sunday, July 10, 2011

Reading as multimedia experience

Following on my previous post, more news from the wonderful age of digital media. I was reading The Glass Room by Simon Mawer, which I'm enjoying, and one of the characters in this novel set in Czechoslovakia between the wars is playing Leos Janacek's On an Overgrown Path. In my ignorance, I was unacquainted with Janacek, let alone the work. So I go to the Pandora app on my iPhone and punch in Janacek. Pandora starts playing some lovely solo piano music -- serendipitously the very work mentioned in the book!

In this case, I was reading the trade paperback version of the book, and I plugged my iPhone into our living room stereo. I could have listened to the music on my earbuds, and I could have been reading the book on my iPad and listening to the music at the same time on the iPad. Alternatively, I probably could have ordered the entire work on iTunes, but Pandora has the advantage of being free.

I don't normally listen to music while I'm reading -- I find it distracting. But in this case, the music enhanced my reading experience my taking me further into the world being described by the author. Also, I discovered a new composer!

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