By and large, though, the whole little game, briefly diverting and occasionally amusing as it was, essentially proved Franzen’s point. While he had attempted to make an argument—albeit an off-the-cuff and ham-fisted one—about the negative aspects of Twitter, the partisans of the micro-blogging platform reduced that argument to a meaningless punchline.…I have to side with those who believe that emotions are indeed complex enough to merit 600-page novels, and cannot be fully conveyed in an emoticon. I don’t think emoticons and 600-page novels are mutually exclusive; it appears that the universe is capacious enough to include both these phenomena, and I don’t intend to choose sides. But if people start making teams, I know which one I would rather be on.
For Erin Faulk, a 29-year-old legal assistant and voracious reader in Los Angeles, the era of e-readers has had one major effect: she has accumulated many more books that she categorizes as “DNFs” — Did Not Finish. But she is also buying more books, she said, and she thinks that all the interruptions have, in a way, made her a more discerning reader.“With so many distractions, my taste in books has really leveled up,” Ms. Faulk said. “Recently, I gravitate to books that make me forget I have a world of entertainment at my fingertips. If the book’s not good enough to do that, I guess my time is better spent.”