E-book or Paper Book: Which is the Best for You?

By the Numbers

 According to the respected Pew Research Center, print books remain the most popular reading medium with 67 percent of Americans having read at least one paper book in the last year. Of these, 39 percent will only read paper books while 29 percent read in both paper and e-book formats, with just 7 percent reading only e-books. The numbers are couched in the fact that the average American reads 12 books/year. Age is also a factor with 10 percent of those aged 18 to 29 reading only e-books compared to 5 percent of those ages 50 – 64.

As for devices, it’s either paper back or hardcover for paper books, while e-readers have expanded their reading devices to include smart phones, tablets, and even audio formats.

Regardless of which format you prefer, there are advantages and disadvantages to each.

The mind slows when reading print allowing for deeper critical thinking

According to an article in the Huffington Post, there are 10 reasons why print is better that e-books.

Why Print is Better

  1. Reading print books is a tactile activity that offers pleasurable experiences for the senses of smell, touch, and sight.
  2. Studies show that reading in print is better for retention. You may not remember all the clues and evidence in that mystery you are savoring read digitally.
  3. Books last decades longer than digital devices.
  4. Keeping old, treasured books around elicits memories, good and bad, of the time you read them.
  5. Giving a book  to a friend is a special gesture.
  6. You can underline, dog-ear, highlight, and write in the margins of a book – all cognition strengthening activities.
  7. The covers and jackets of books people read on a bus or subway can be a snapshot of a city’s culture.
  8. Books in print give writers higher royalties than their e-book versions.
  9. Books are soothing and healthier. Light-emitting e-books interfere with sleep and general health.
  10. Books are less likely to be stolen which is not true of an e-reading device.

On the Other Hand

10 reasons why e-books are better

  1. You can download them instantly without having to leave home.
  2. They are usually more portable.
  3. When borrowed from the library, there are no late fees for library e-books.
  4. They provide readers with built-in dictionaries.
  5. They don’t require bookcases for storage.
  6. You can set your preferred font size and style.
  7. It’s easier to find hard to find niche topics.
  8. They are more environmentally friendly (really?).
  9. You don’t need a reading light – they come with their own.
  10. They are usually cheaper than their paper book counterparts.

My Take

I am a ravenous hard-copy reader! That’s not to say I don’t read the occasional e-book (I do have a Kindle which I mainly use to play Words with Friends and watch Netflix movies). Ever since I was in grade school, I have smelled books and have been known to pick one title over another because it smelled better. No can do with an e-book. In the summer I love to take a good mystery to the beach or pool – can you see dropping the e-book device into the water or clogging its memory with sand? I do agree about the space issue, but I feel warm and cozy in my study which is lined with books, some even going back to those grade school days – and that’s a LONG time ago!

Anyway, whichever is your book media of choice, I wish you hours and hours of magic and memories from your treasured volume or screen.

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Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

It reads like a combined horror, suspense and true crime story, and that’s because it is all those things. Getting this book was totally random. I was surfing books on Amazon when I came across the thoroughly intriguing title, and when I saw its almost 5-star rating, it was a slam dunk order.

(Even though I have a Kindle, I still order most of my books in hard copy – its like the brick and mortar versus virtual classroom thing.)

Back to bleeding, er, uh Bad Blood.

Although the story is about a Silicon Valley start-up named Theranos, intrinsic to that is the story of its founder, a then 19-year-old Stanford University dropout named Elizabeth Holmes who eventually became the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire. Begun with her vision to make the world a better place, Elizabeth conceived of performing blood tests on people by drawing blood with a finger prick and running it through small, Theranos designed and built blood analyzers. However – there was a hitch–her system didn’t work.

Tests came back inaccurate and many were really run on the several traditional (big) analyzers the company had purchased from other manufacturers. People became panicked when results suggested imminent strokes and out-of-whack TSH values. Meanwhile, the more it didn’t work, the more Elizabeth explained things away with exaggerations that eventually segued into out-and-out lies.

Elizabeth is a striking woman whose idol was Steve Jobs of Apple. Her dream was to be the Steve Jobs of the medical world. She even emulated him in the way she dressed, with her black turtlenecks and slacks. One of her traits that startled many who met her was her voice.  Whether cultivated or natural, it was a deep, manly, baritone that didn’t pair with the blond, ruby-lipped stunner.

Elizabeth holding the small blood capsule

Elizabeth ran the company along with her live-in lover, Sunny Balwani. She had an amazing talent of attracting older, successful men to join her Board of Directors, including George Schultz, former U.S. Secretary of State and George Mattis, a former U.S. Secretary of Defense. Most of her board members were totally taken with this beautiful young woman with the deep voice who could spin yarns into amazing products that came unraveled before they were even real.

Sunny and Elizabeth ruled the company ruthlessly, never hesitating to fire someone on the spot, which they did with progressive frequency as employees began to realize they were partaking in what was soon to be deemed a fraud of major proportion.

Anyway, I have become obsessed with this story and its central figure, Elizabeth Holmes. Although technically a business-based story, this is really a read about an astonishing success story turned into ashes, overnight!

If you are looking for a great read of epic proportions, give Bad Blood a try.

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A Happy Dog

Have you ever seen a dog smile? This is my old boy, Brinkley. He’s 14. He doesn’t have many years left, but what he does have will be spent smiling and being content as can be. This is my mission.

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Posted in Animals

Treating an Arthritic Knee

I admit it. I am aging. I would like to say and gracefully so, but there are those that would disagree.

I’ve been active my whole life: played tennis, swam, rode horses, rode bikes, and the clincher – ran for over 40 years – until I couldn’t. That was a major bummer – not being able to run. But ever Pollyanna, I downgraded to fast walking – until I couldn’t. The solution? Slow the pace. This I did, despite ouches and grunts that occurred in rhythmic harmony. Thus are the musical notes of arthritis.

To quell my aches, I’ve tried a number of things including physical therapy, arthroscopic surgery, cortisone shots and gel shots. Nothing worked. I continued to toddle and limp along.

Enter my volunteer work at the animal shelter where I walk up to 10 strong dogs twice a week. We’re talking PAIN!! However, nothing was going to stop me from this passion it took me a lifetime to find.

I had a nice chat with my orthopedic doctor who suggested this relatively new procedure, Coolief. Here’s what she told me:

It’s simple: Radiofrequency energy targets the nerves in the knee area that send pain signals to the brain and destroys them so voila, no pain! It’s not quite that simple, so I will leave the nitty-gritty detail to the pros

As far as the experience – it is not pleasant. In fact, it is very unpleasant. In sum, four needles are inserted into your knee and adjusted so they target the correct nerves. This was excruciating, “No pain, no gain,” the nurse said. This was something I did not want to hear at the time. Once the needles were in and positioned, the rest wasn’t so bad. In fact, the warmth of the penetrating energy was soothing.

Before the docs can perform the “real” procedure, they have to determine if you are a viable candidate, so they do a “pre-procedure” Again, four needles are inserted into the area around your knee only this time lidocaine is inserted into your knee through them. When the procedure is over, you are instructed to go home and chart your pain level for the next four hours. If you do not have pain then you can be promoted to Phase 2.

There are no real after-effects of either procedure, so after the “real” one, I was fine after an afternoon of resting. I was then anxious to see how my modified knee would feel.

One of the issues I had at the shelter was getting the dogs out of their kennels where you have to kneel on one knee (my bad one) while holding the other knee against the kennel door to keep the dog from barging on out. This procedure had been a killer. (Notice past tense). Four days after the procedure was my first walking shift. I wanted to jump for joy at how painless it was!! Walking the dogs was also exciting because I could trot along with the more energetic dogs, also with no pain.  

The sad thing is that this fix is not permanent. The average time before symptoms return is 2 years. What then? A repeat of the procedure or eventually, a knee replacement. I am not at all thrilled about a knee replacement and what all that means in recuperation so I’ll probably hang out with Coolief for a bit, even if it does involve sticking needles in my knee

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Posted in Aging

Spa Baths and Cabbage Leaves

He didn’t have a name. They give all the dogs a name, but for some reason, this sad-eyed boy got passed by. He was the quintessential hang dog, rarely lifting his head to make eye contact, but when he did, my heart melted. I just wanted him to have a name.

I went to see him today. They gave him a name. It’s Carter. He has a bad skin condition, so I helped one of the other volunteers give him the spa bath treatment. He seemed to love the attention, especially when we got “the spot” and his leg jerked in happy harmony with butt scrubs.

I don’t know what will happen with him. I pray for the perfect family to come along and adopt him. He’s in the adoption row now, so there’s plenty of hope.

I learned something new today, too. Actually, it seems I always learn something new when I go to the shelter. Today we had to treat a mama dog who had suffered from a case of mastitis. The treatment? Hold cold leaves of cabbage on the offending teats. It works! Yesterday all she wanted to do was lay down and have the cabbage leaves pressed against her. Today? All she wanted was to bounce around and play. She is better. Cabbage leaves work on sore teats! Who would have guessed?

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Crimson, a Very Nice Dog

She was big and huge and clearly uncomfortable. She was due any day and very reluctantly obliged any of us by getting up for a walk. She was a stray and the shelter staff had named her Crimson. We all couldn’t wait to see her puppies.

Photo by Tess O’Brien from Burst

They moved her into the quiet row of kennels, as a calm and peaceful place to have her litter. I was happy they did this for her.

Tonight, I came in to find that her puppies were gone. They spayed her and took them away at the same time.  When I went to see her, I was met with a much smaller and younger-looking dog, but one who panted non-stop and was in obvious distress. My heart broke for this lovely dog who wondered where her babies were.

It is heartbreaking to see things like this, but then there are all the living dogs who need us to give them a glimmer of hope and love, which we do, unfailingly.

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Posted in Animals and Rescue

Is Correct Use of the English Language Doomed?

I am a grammar geek. That’s not to say I always get it right, but I love thinking about it and see grammar as a giant puzzle that deserves to be dealt with justly and correctly. After all, I grew up in the age of sentence diagramming, which I loved and still think of fondly.

I am also an English teacher. I teach college students whose idea of grammar is to see how many letters they can eliminate in a word to have it still make sense: u, imho, lol, among many, many others

The students I teach are mostly serious students and good people. The course I teach is an upper level course that focuses on business writing. One of its main premises is that the students come to it equipped with the skills of grammar, and if lacking, it is up to them to seek remedial help.


The other day I administered an exercise having to do with subject-verb agreement, sentence structure, punctuation, and a short essay. Granted, some of the questions were on the complex-side, but theoretically, questions these students should be able to handle. The results were abysmal.

I’m in mourning as I watch the purity of my lovely language losing out to the era of text messages, disappearing photos, and beyond-casual email.  In fact, I am appalled at the some emotionally-charged, poorly formatted and incompetently-written emails that come across my desk from students these days.

What is the answer? I declare that there is none. The language will evolve or dissolve and the question now is, does anybody care?

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Posted in Editorials
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