I’m not certain that I don’t see the values that Bob’s journal of engaged
reading so wonderfully presents. I just think that the “traditional book”
engaged in such a way becomes something different and, once it becomes
such, makes us wish for even more multiple forms and occasions.

The problem for me comes when Bob discusses his reading experience with
Moseley’s novel. There I find myself (strange bedfellows, but with coffee
it is reported) somewhat in Sven’s company. As a novelist (of my peculiar
kind) I am somewhat troubled by Bob’s report of using the search function
to refresh his memory after having “forgotten several important things
about a character who had reappeared after being absent for several
chapters [and who] might be the key to the mystery.” It is not that I don’t
read this way with print (searching back and forth in memory or pages) but
rather that the mysteriousness of mystery is somehow broached, or at least
haunted by the omnipresent search structure, which is of a different order
than the imaginative searches a mind makes or is invited to make in the
seduction of narrative. My problem (again) is not with the idea of
searching itself but rather (as I tried to argue in suggesting that
interface as other than meaning-making is a red herring) that the search
structure is “outside” the mystery, the reverie, the engagement.

I have often argued, and do again here, that hypertext structures do not
deny writers any of the prior capabilities, including reverie, mystery,
suspense, le mot juste, or (indeed!) linear sequence which are available to
any storyteller; but rather enhance them by adding rhythmic, temporal,
multiple, visual and polyvocal structures. The question is whether the
naked search on keyword-dot-character-dot-name is such an enhancement.
Clearly given the passion and care of the reading that Bob reports, it is
for him.

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