I’m a self-professed book geek. Come to my home and you’ll see three book cases plus a multitude of mini piles of books scattered throughout . It’s a good thing I’m slightly obsessive compulsive because if I ever left a candle unattended there’d be enough to light up the night sky for miles around. In the news last week was a story about how seniors in south Wales, during one of the worst winters since the Knights of the Round Table, were buying old used books as fuel to heat their homes because “the books make ideal slow-burning fuel for fires and stoves” (The Guardian January 6, 2010).
Yeah, I have enough books for the entire block to last the entire month of January.
Anyway, several friends have either bought or received electronic books readers. Am I tempted? No. Not really. Curious? Sure, but nowhere near intrigued enough to go out and purchase one.
Reason number one:
I’m not exactly technologically enabled. Or want to be. Sure I own a computer and an iPod but that’s about it. I get mocked for my prehistoric television and cable package (basic cable twenty dollars a month and a 19 inch television with a built-in VCR). I will own my one, singular iPod Nano until it dies a natural death. Blackberry? I think not. I’ve just figured out how to enter names and numbers in my cell phone.
Reason number two:
I’m a messy reader. I highlight and underline and fold down pages holding favourite passages. I write in the margins and spill coffee on the pages. I’ve dropped books in the tub during bubble baths and accidently dropped kicked them across parking lots.
Can’t do this to an E-reader or Kindle.
When I first purchased my laptop I spilled cranberry juice and club soda RIGHT on top of it. It still works…but only if it’s plugged in WITHOUT the battery.
Which kinda defeats the purpose of a laptop. But the point is, I was a nervous wreck and beat myself up for days because of my clumsiness.
Reason number three:
I’m a book lender. I like to share. Lending books wouldn’t be as easy with an electronic reader as portrayed in the following scenario:
“Ms. Helm? Do you have a book I could borrow? ”
“I don’t know Laura, let me see,” I say as I whip out my e-reader/kindle and scroll through my downloads. “Why, here is something you may be interested in” and I show her the screen. “But, darn. I’m sorry sweetie, you’ll have to download it yourself.” And I slap the e-reader/kindle shut and look at her sympathetically.
Over the years I’ve had numerous students ask me to “check my little library” for a book they might like. And I have. I usually get them back but if I don’t I don’t fret.
I’ve given the gift of a story.
So, maaaaaybe in the future my life will take me to a place where I’ll have to possess on my person 350 books at any given moment, but until then I’ll go to the bookstore, walk up and down each aisle running my finger tips against the spines of the books, periodically stop to pull one from the shelf because the title or cover has caught my eye, read the back, read the first sentence of the first chapter,
and, chances are,
then and there I’ll decide take that story home with me.