Bookish helps avid readers consider their reading in the larger context of their lives, and to capture a personal history of reading experiences that is both accessible and evocative. It encourages readers to reflect on a moment of insight connected to their reading - and by pairing that reflection with an image and sound recorded at the time and place where an insight occurs, Bookish creates a visible history of life with books.
A response to the realization that e-books don't acquire meaning for their readers in the same way physical volumes do, Bookish goes beyond replicating the trappings of physical books, instead taking advantage of the unique possibilities that arise from reading on a connected, sensor-driven tablet device. It envisions a new way to relate to the reading we do and the experiences we have with the books that live with us.
Personal and Contextual
Bookish helps readers create a uniquely personal history of the experiences they have with reading at a particular time and place in their lives. It is inspired by the reader-response theory of literary criticism, and the realization that the things we learn about ourselves through reading are an essential part of why we read. By providing a space for composing a reflection connected to, but apart from the text itself, it provides the mental distance to allow readers to consider their reading more broadly. By grounding that reflection in the time and place where it occurred, readers are further encouraged to consider the immediate context. It's an exercise that enhances their connection to the text, and in turn, the reading experience.
The physicality of traditional books provides a variety of cues to help readers recall an experience with a book at a particular place and time. An e-book, read on a generic tablet, lacks these cues. By capturing and storing an image and ambient sound from the moment of a notable reading experience, Bookish provides new kinds of hooks for a reader's memory to grab onto to evoke that original experience. Additional contextual information, like the book's title and author, location name, time, and date, are provided below each reflection.
Taken together, the collected records of reading experiences help readers consider the broader context those experiences exist within. Readers can see how their thinking has changed over time, returning to the original text that inspired a response, and recording their new experiences as they see fit. They can also begin to see patterns of books, authors, and reading locations that may emerge at various points in their reading history.
Browsable and Seekable
The primary way to review Bookish reflections is by browsing - reflections are organized along a timeline, and readers can flip from one to the next, revisiting the moments they captured in an experience that's akin to flipping through a photo album. By shaking their device, they can cause Bookish to return to a random experience from the past - one they may well have forgotten about.
Readers may have a specific moment they'd like to revisit, or be curious to see their responses to a particular book or in a particular place. Bookish makes it easy to filter reflections by title, author or location - and to jump back weeks, months or years - while preserving a sense of discovery.
Bookish is an additional layer of functionality built in to existing e-reader software, which means readers can use Bookish with the e-books they already own. The tight integration allows readers to quickly jump away from the page to record a reflection, and return just as quickly to their reading, right where they left off. On reviewing their reflections at a later time, they're able to return to the original text just as easily - even re-reading the relevant section while the sounds of their previous experience play in the background.
This integration has other benefits - there are no new accounts to create or manage, and just like the traditional notes and highlights readers already create, their history of reflections is backed up and accessible even if they lose or upgrade their tablet device.