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Fiction/Non-fiction vs Narrative/Non-narrative

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  • Jon Jermey
    A more cogent division than fiction/non-fiction is into narrative texts (texts intended to be read as a connected sequence) and non-narrative texts which are
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 1, 2004
      A more cogent division than fiction/non-fiction is into narrative texts
      (texts intended to be read as a connected sequence) and non-narrative
      texts which are intended to be 'dipped into' and 'looked up'. The latter
      are typically non-fiction but may include collections of short stories,
      etc, while the former include many history books, most biographies and
      some books of popular science like A Brief History of Time. The
      relevance of this to ebooks is that - as I have argued before -
      virtually all non-narrative texts in electronic format will ultimately
      come to be presented as dynamic hyperlinked websites, and only narrative
      texts have a viable future as self-contained 'ebooks'.

      Jon.
    • johnshawroc
      Jon, I agree that books can be classified as narrative, a type of work that the reader will likely read from cover to cover, or non- narrative, which the
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 1, 2004
        Jon,
        I agree that books can be classified as narrative, a type of work
        that the reader will likely read from cover to cover, or non-
        narrative, which the reader will likely use as a reference. Fiction
        is usually narrative, However, books of short stories and poetry are
        non-narrative. Frequently a reader will pick up a book of poetry and
        read one favorite poem, later read another, perhaps in a different
        part of the book.

        Biography and history are often narrative. One exception is
        "Founding Brothers" which has a chapter about each one of the
        "brothers"(founders of our country). Some history, of course,
        is primarily used as a reference; other is read from beginning to end.

        Of course, there is a large body of non-fiction work that is rarely
        read from beginning to end: programming manuals, "Yahoo Groups
        for Dummies" (I haven't seen that, but give them time), etc.

        I do not agree about that "virtually all non-narrative texts in
        electronic format will ultimately come to be presented as dynamic
        hyperlinked websites." I write technical engineering information
        that I give away on my internet site and sell in the form of
        downloadable e-books. The e-books have much more detail. This work is
        strictly reference; only a few newcomers to the field read from start
        to finish. There are links, and moving from one page to another
        distant pages is faster than if the book was on-line with anything
        but the fastest connections.

        The advantage of the e-book format over the web page is that there is
        no need to be online. Often the e-books are used by people working in
        situations where they do not have easy access to the Internet: in a
        factory, traveling, etc. Some people use them on a Palm Pilot. (I
        read John Dean's "The Rehnquist Choice" on a Palm, while
        waiting in doctor's offices, restaurants (joy of traveling—and
        dining--alone), etc. I could just as easily been reading a novel.

        I have read both narrative and non-narrative books in e-book format,
        either on my laptop or on my Palm Pilot. I can read the books
        wherever I am without having to lug the books around or find an
        Internet connection. Wireless "hotspots" are becoming more
        common; even one of my favorite hangouts, the US Airways Club at
        airports, is now a T-Mobil hotspot. However, the price is still too
        high for me. Airplanes will remain, for all practicable purposes,
        Internet free zones for some time in the future. Because of these
        limitations, my laptop contains several gigs of technical reference
        material, ready for my use anytime.

        On the other hand, someone with home wireless can sit with our
        laptops or PDAs in our favorite chair and read a novel directly from
        the Internet. That may well be in our future.

        John






        --- In ebook-community@yahoogroups.com, "Jon Jermey" <jonjermey@o...>
        wrote:
        > A more cogent division than fiction/non-fiction is into narrative
        texts
        > (texts intended to be read as a connected sequence) and non-
        narrative
        > texts which are intended to be 'dipped into' and 'looked up'. The
        latter
        > are typically non-fiction but may include collections of short
        stories,
        > etc, while the former include many history books, most biographies
        and
        > some books of popular science like A Brief History of Time. The
        > relevance of this to ebooks is that - as I have argued before -
        > virtually all non-narrative texts in electronic format will
        ultimately
        > come to be presented as dynamic hyperlinked websites, and only
        narrative
        > texts have a viable future as self-contained 'ebooks'.
        >
        > Jon.
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