This past weekend I was discussing with a friend that we had recently received a kindle as a gift, and would probably be purchasing future books through Amazon to be read on our new toy. My friend, Richard, commented that he would most likely never purchase this kind of reading device. He loved the way a book felt in his hands. The smell of a new book, (they do have a distinct smell), everything about going to a library, or bookstore, and browsing.
I later thought about what he had said, and had to agree that the experience of reading was enhanced by the art on the book jacket, the weight of the pages, and the description on the fly-leaf. I remember what pleasure I felt when leaving Borders with that half sized shopping bag, loaded with books. After arriving home with three or four books I would have the most difficult time deciding which one to read first. Having decided, I secretly hoped that I didn’t pick the best one for first, as I would surely be disappointed by the subsequent selections. You always want each book you read to be better than the last book you’ve read.
The odds of reading your purchases in the right order are pretty slim unless you pick one author, and the novels are each part of a continuing series. In that case, you wait until the entire series is complete (Harry Potter), read the names of all the previous books on the second or third page of the last book, (this all takes some research), and begin from the first in the series. Granted, even if you do it that way, there is no guarantee that each subsequent novel will be better than its predecessor. That’s a chance we all must take.
As a child, one of the first books I read was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I loved that book, and must have read it at least six times. Since I was only about ten or eleven years of age there were some things I didn’t quite grasp. Alcott was so accomplished that her novel was written on several levels. It appealed to an audience spanning a wide age range, as does Rowling with the Potter novels.
Yes, Richard’s comment did get me thinking about all this, and my love for books. The pride I take in my library, ( I have a few autographed books that I don’t lend out), and how much I enjoy trading books with others who appreciate reading as much as I do. Nothing takes you out of your day-to-day or your location like a good book. You are never lonely, or bored, when you are held captive by a book. You can read while standing on a line, in a doctor’s office, or when you have a cold, and can’t do any other activity.
When your mind works as mine does you begin thinking about something, (the hard cover and paperback books) you digress to the wonders of reading, and then back again to the kindle, and e books. I have downloaded books to the kindle and the Ipad. My husband and I switch back and forth with these two devices, when we wish to read the book that has been downloaded onto either device. We also have many books on our bookshelves that we still intend to read.
Television did not do away with radio, cablevision did not do away with movie houses, and the kindle will not do away with paper and ink books. The kindle is light, you don’t need to worry that War and Peace will cause your luggage to weigh more than permitted when checking in at the airport. You can read it in bed, your arms don’t get exhausted because you need to hold it up at an odd angle, far enough away from your face to read it. Best of all, when you fall asleep and drop it on your face, you don’t break your nose.
Whether it’s a hard cover copy, a paperback, or a reading device, the fact that we are more exposed to the written word, then ever before in history, is a wonderful thing. We laugh, cry, and learn by reading and listening to words. Perhaps there will come a time when we lend each other Kindles as we now do physical books. Read on my friends!