While reading my current book, I came to a passage in which the author – a stuffy old man – complained about e readers.
My first instinct was to agree with him, being somewhat stuffy myself and considering the almost romantic associations of paperbacks. To think of the weight of a book in your hands, the small victory that’s felt in the final turning of a page when there are no longer any pages to turn and you have to say goodbye to all the characters you’d invested in and spent so much time with, possibly even forsaking being with your own friends to be with them. Their life being in your fingertips as you decide to put the book down for a final time, un-dog it’s ears and pass it on to a friend to read, maybe even jot down a little note on the first page.
Choosing a bookmark; a passport photo, an old plane ticket, a playing card featuring a lady with nice jugs. Reading “just one more chapter” when you’re super tired and waking up an hour later with the book on your face like a teepee. The smell of an old book, its porous pages picking up scents from who knows where, letting them waft as you flick through or simply holding the spine to your nose. Also the feeling of having a miniature world that you can put in your bag and visit without electricity.
A friend of mine, famed among our circles for being a good giver of gifts gave me an E reader for my most recent birthday. She’d taken her love of technology and combined it with my passions; reading and travel, resulting in a gift which pleased both the recipient and donor.
And still… it sat in my cupboard unused for weeks while several real books smugly lay next to me in pole position on the bed – books that I didn’t actually like but were all that I could find at home that were of slight interest.
Then an author was suggested to me, one who lives in my town no less. I scoured the local libraries for material, assuming that his hometown must be plagued by his work. Nope. Not one book. The Internet, however, did happen to have what I was looking for and I took my e reader on it’s maiden voyage. Many voyages have followed since.
The debate that I was reading was in the very book that was suggested to me and that I was only able to find in electronic form. It’s safe to say I’ve changed my tune and although I’ll read real books for as long as I still can, I think they can live in harmony side by side with their electronic counterparts.