“The Satanic Verses” – The Experience

I am Salman Rushdie’s bitch.
At least, I will be for a few months as I finish “Joseph Anton” and “The Satanic Verses”.
I picked up “Joseph Anton” in hardcover for myself for Christmas and only started to read it about a week ago. I had only ever read “Fury” and really enjoyed it and the only reason I read “Fury” was because it was by Salman Rushdie and because it was on sale as hardcover. I knew who he was only because of the fatwa issued against him in 1989 but avoided reading him because I thought that was the only reason he was a famous writer. Not that he was any good, just that he was good at starting trouble.
I fell in love with the man after about 50 pages of “Joseph Anton”, taking my time and devouring every line.
“Okay,” I said to myself. “I really think I should read ‘The Satanic Verses'”.
So I went online, got myself a digital copy, loaded it onto my BlackBerry Playbook, and started to read it. Funny, though, that the first chapter read to me like the first chapter of “Finnegans Wake”, with words running together and even the same resonances of the sounds of thunder as Gibreel and Saladin tumble down out of the sky.
I read a chapter or two of my hardcover of “Joseph Anton” then put it down and pickup my Playbook to read a few thousand words of my digital copy of “The Satanic Verses.”
One thing I will note, is that a digital copy is hard to gauge how much you read, because you can scale the font up and down so that one page can be less than 250 words, and you’re never sure how many pages the whole thing actually should be. Because even the counter down at the bottom scales the pages the same way you scale the font.
Another thing, is that while I am guilty of falling asleep on the couch when I read, forcing my wife to come down and get me, she accuses me of not reading because she “can’t hear the pages turning” so therefore I must be asleep. I am actually less likely to fall asleep reading my Playbook, because while I can actually curl up and fall asleep with a book cradled in my arms (I do that sometimes if I am really, really enjoying the book – call me crazy, but good books get inside me and don’t ever get out and if I feel they do, I am compelled to read them again) I don’t dare curl up with my Playbook in case I might touch the wrong thing and delete an app or even damage it.
As luck would have it, we all went to our favourite bookstore in Newmarket, Covernotes (yeah, they have a WordPress blog and yeah, they are pretty damned good) and lo and behold, sitting there like it was waiting for me, was a first edition hardcover of “The Satanic Verses”. I rushed to the register and paid for it immediately so I knew I would have it. Even had a Lichtman’s bookmark in it (I can’t remember the last time I was in there), which I am using to mark my pages.
So now, I am reading two books, and one of them two different ways, both by the same author, and I enjoying both works a great deal. I am excited to get to be able to read them and I need to read them only when I am sure I can do nothing else so I can focus all of my attention on them.
I read the digital version so I have a copy of it with me at all times and go to it when I have a few minutes to read, and I appreciate it.
But I look forward to the experience and the feel of reading my hardcovers. I also like falling asleep, holding them to my chest, and thinking of them as I drift off.

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