IF the pundits are right, by now we should be at the start of a boom in the reading of the literary classics as all of those people who unwrapped an e-reader for Christmas download a free library of out-of -copyright books to put on it.

Chez Bookworm, no such present was received, not least because Ma Bookworm knows that I take a somewhat curmudgeonly view of e-readers.

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But when my neighbour let me borrow his iPad last week, I must admit that I did feel the hot breath of the green-eyed monster on my neck. Here at last is a platform for electronic reading that can do far more than the book itself. Sony Readers, Kindles and all the other e-readers don't, I think, have anything like the iPad's potential.

All of which is why I really need to read David Eagleman's 4.99 app, Why The Net Matters, which publishers Canongate claim is a zingingly interactive manifesto arguing why the internet will save civilisation. I'm prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt because I enjoyed Eagleman's last work, Sum, when I read it on what technophiles, I regret to say, are starting to call a p-book (ie printed book).

The new Eagleman, I hear, is only going to be available on iPad. Canongate haven't even got anything they can give me on paper.

For the first time, I'm starting to take this e-reader business seriously. I'll take it even more seriously, though, when they can make giving an app or an e-book as pleasurable as handing over its old-fashioned equivalent.


FINALLY, for those still in search of resolutions, two quick ideas. The first, is to get down to Edinburgh's "Resolution Square" (ie by the National Galleries on the Mound) from 1-6pm today, where you can hear specially commissioned haikus from writers such as AL Kennedy and Janice Galloway, along with performances from some of our finest musicians and singer-songwriters to celebrate. It's free, too …

And if you've no time for that, you've got until Tuesday to be one of the 20,000 people who will be giving away four dozen free copies of a favourite book on World Book Night in March. Log on to, and all will be revealed.

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But no matter which of those ideas you like – if any – allow me to wish all our readers a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year.