Readers and writers sure like books. In fact, I owe my posture, balance, and perfectly leveled coffee table to hardcover anthologies. It’s counterintuitive, but we mustn’t equate books with their stories. We don’t love folks because of their appearance, or their heft, though we may have a strong desire to hold them, to smell their uniquely familiar scent, or gaze at them lying attractively disarrayed on the floor.
Let’s, for the sake of conversation, agree that a cardboard case binding paper and ink (a book) is neither idea, tale, nor truth (its story), in the same way that a grooved vinyl disc is not music. The crux is that the lyrics connect to our hearts and we share them... singing aloud if we like.
My local Barnes and Noble is closing; thus ends my favorite browsing. I find it difficult to choose books online; I like to meet them in person. I didn’t want an e-reader, and one given to me sat for a year untouched. I posed as a book snob, but probably I just came to a halt. I feared being left behind as technology advanced past my ability to use it.
Because I have a Nook, I’ve already missed a dozen free downloads from friends of mine who have had Kindle promotions. My 5 year old Mac (ancient!) will not support the online Kindle application. Looks like I have the 8-track player of the literary world.
I now adore my e-reader. I was tickled by the way the story between the covers of The Mists of Avalon fit so neatly into the minuscule pocket allotted to me by Delta Airlines. It’s as though they had years ago anticipated the reduction of two thousand pages to a sixteenth of an inch. But that doesn’t mean I’m willing, ever, to give up my fetish books -- and I don’t use that word lightly (nor without giggling).
You’ll have to pry this type of cardboard covered tree pulp thingy from my cold dead hands. They are more than the sum of their words, and can never be translated to a data stream.
Gardinel’s Real Estate, M. S. Corley & Orrin Grey, 2014
Physical Graffiti, Led Zeppelin, (Swan Song). 1975