Literacy and calluses

I’m still one of those strange geezers who relegate cell phone use to emergency road service and ordering pizzas, so I’m always a little puzzled by new and exciting uses for these items. The latest I’ve seen is covered in this piece from The New York Times on the increasing popularity of novels written specifically to be read on a cell phone. These digital, on-the-fly novels are apparently making the transition to print in Japan, and they’re making lots and lots of money in the process.

“Of last year’s 10 best-selling novels, five were originally cellphone novels, mostly love stories written in the short sentences characteristic of text messaging but containing little of the plotting or character development found in traditional novels. What is more, the top three spots were occupied by first-time cellphone novelists, touching off debates in the news media and blogosphere.

“‘Will cellphone novels kill “the author”?’ a famous literary journal, Bungaku-kai, asked on the cover of its January issue. Fans praised the novels as a new literary genre created and consumed by a generation whose reading habits had consisted mostly of manga, or comic books. Critics said the dominance of cellphone novels, with their poor literary quality, would hasten the decline of Japanese literature.”

I mean, I can’t even add spaces and punctuation when I try to compose a text message.

2 Responses to Literacy and calluses

  1. James Moar says:

    That’s something I noticed in Japan — lots of people on the train using the text features on their mobile phones. Don’t know exactly what they were doing, but maybe some of them were reading these things.

  2. huff says:

    Man, I don’t even own a cell phone (what’s even worse is I’m only 22). Japan’s hyper-modernism always amazes.

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