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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007 10:47 am
I Guess I Don’t Need That Laptop After All
Posted by: Keir Graff

From Japan (via the Wall Street Journal), a heartwarming story about how enterprising young people are creating inspiring art using everyday technology–a useful lesson reminding us of the way inspiration flourishes in the most unlikely places. What am I talking about? Cell phone novels, of course (“Ring! Ring! Ring! In Japan, Novelists Find a New Medium,” by Yukari Iwatani Kane):

In Japan, the cellphone is stirring the nation’s staid fiction market. Young amateur writers in their teens and 20s who long ago mastered the art of zapping off emails and blogs on their cellphones, find it a convenient medium in which to loose their creative energies and get their stuff onto the Internet. For readers, mostly teenage girls who use their phones for an increasingly wide range of activities, from writing group diaries to listening to music, the mobile novel, as the genre is called, is the latest form of entertainment on the go.

This sample fills me with the sense of zenlike calm I can usually get only from a particularly well-crafted haiku:

Kin Kon Kan Kon (sound of school bell ringing)
(space)
The school bell rang
(space)
“Sigh. We’re missing class”
(space)
She said with an annoyed expression.

Just kidding. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go drown myself in Lake Michigan.

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One Response to “I Guess I Don’t Need That Laptop After All”
  1. Book Blog - Likely Stories, by Keir Graff - Booklist Online » Blog Archive » War and Peace and Carpal Tunnel Says:

    [...] And more on the mind-boggling notion of reading books on cell phones. From the Chicago Tribune (”Cell phones’ latest plot twist,” by the delightfully named Stevenson Swanson, if that is his real name): With their small screens, cell phones might not spring to mind as a suitable medium for reading lengthy stretches of text. And a much-ballyhooed e-book revolution during the dot-com era in the late 1990s and early 2000s fizzled, leading many in publishing to doubt whether books would ever escape the bounds of paper. [...]


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