Apptrap, are you defined by digital?

many books on shevles and stacked on the floor.

A small selection of my messy books


I work in a digital company; we provide a variety of services for companies who have a presence online. This means that I’m probably more exposed to the tech driven world than plenty of other people I know. However, I like to think I’m still a bit of a traditionalist at heart.

True, I love my iPhone (and the Ether app in particular). Ok, I have a blog, Twitter and Facebook. Yes, I do check my emails about a million times a day. But I’ve not been swallowed up by the digital dragon – yet. I still write longhand, I still love unfolding a broadsheet, I never want to stop leaning back in the bath with a new, slowly wrinkling, book.

Only occasionally do I lie awake at night and worry that all of my thoughts are becoming shallow and superficial, that I never have enough brain space or time to delve a little deeper. Most of the time I think the balance is about right and all of that technology is only there to help me.

But if that’s the case, why does the drawing above our social media department fill me with such a feeling of cold foreboding? Maybe because the wobbly picture of an iPhone and its apps spells out the message: These Define Me.

That’s not what I want to hear. Certainly not what I want to believe about myself. If I have to be defined by anything, I want to be things like hot peppermint tea and cold coffee, five groaning bookshelves, ink stains on my fingers, a fuzzy dressing gown, the smell of our breakfast cooking, the cracks of light at the edge of the blind that tell you to hurry up and lift it. What about you? How would you prefer to define yourself?

Interactive fiction

I really, really wanted an iPhone. But in the end I decided not to get one because the one thing that I really wanted it for (editing text documents) wasn’t the easiest thing to achieve on the sexy wee handsets. This news makes me wish I had one though – Fighting Fantasy game books are coming to the iPhone. So cute! Instead of rolling a physical dice you shake the handset and it rolls a virtual one for you.

I wasn’t ever into this range, but multiple choice fiction is totally fascinating in my opinion – although I remember skipping back a few pages every time I made a wrong choice rather than starting over again. I once got the chance to write for a children’s interactive toy that worked in the same way and it was such a fun job.

I’d love to do one for adults, but I don’t think I could relinquish authorial control long enough to let people decide which direction they wanted to follow!

Come to think of it, I remember being told about a writer who created a book in a box, where readers could choose any section to read they wanted but I can’t for the life of me remember who this was or even if I remember the concept correctly – can anyone help?

There are plenty of interactive fiction offerings out there in the digital age – from full on games to story books – I think I’d better investigate more when I have the time.

In other news, I haven’t read any of the books from the Guardian First Book Award list. Bad me. Off I trot to the bookshop.