On Dave Eggers's "Zeitoun" & the Odd Feel of Finishing a Book via Kindle: the Latex Comes Between Us

So I’ve just finished reading Dave Eggers’s Zeitoun, and here’s an easy reaction: It’s certainly a good addition to the many books written about the Katrina disaster. It makes you feel ashamed of our government’s disaster preparedness and, in particular, our reaction to the flooded city of New Orleans. Although I don’t blame the ex-nitwit president George W. exclusively, Zeitoun is also a testament to the embarrassment of the Bush years. I’ve read (and reviewed) several books about Katrina, and this one has the most egregious examples of bad behavior by government, and in particular the much-vaunted Office of Homeland Security, which has always sounded (and seemed) Orwellian from its outset. Zeitoun’s story is harrowing and all wrong: In a nutshell, and without giving too much away, a good man is falsely imprisoned by our government during the aftermath of Katrina. This should never happen. But it did.
On a writerly note, Zeitoun is utilitarian, efficient, and almost without style. Like many gripping nonfiction chronicles, it sticks to the unfolding story and builds a great deal of momentum. It’s a fast read, to put it mildly. I calculate my total reading time for the book around four to five hours, max. Some of the editing seemed rushed: There are obvious comma errors, verb conjugation errors (‘lay/lie’ mistakes, for example), and simple constructs that seem rather basic, like obvious thoughts quoted in italics. (Why did I just say that? I’m not going to be arrested, am I?)
On a readerly note, I read it via a Kindle edition, perhaps the fifth or sixth book I’ve now read on Kindle, and I’m noticing an odd facet of this ebook craze: Finishing an ebook is a flat, somewhat disappointing experience.
You don’t have an actual book to place upon your desk or nightstand, admire the cover, savor the good moments from the book. You hit the ‘Home’ button and move on to the next book. (Of course in some ways that’s a good thing. I think the Kindle people should use this ad phrase: It’s not a book, it’s a library.)
But back to that odd feel of a Kindle finish: It’s like sex with a condom. You’re know you’re done, but it’s not the same. The latex comes between us.

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