As of today, there are readers still out there who prefer the book over the kindle or ipad. Readers that relish the new hardback, cherish the mildewed paperback. Readers who plan trips to used bookstores as if mapping out a pub crawl, and who visit ebay to score a forgotten novel in pristine condition no matter what the price.
We are the romantics in a digital age.
We love to bring a stack books with us to bed, reading the first page of each one to get a sense of the author’s scope and style. We sit in the bathroom and have fiction handy for those quick immersions into a world far unlike our own. We read on the train, and if we don’t get a seat, we have the skill to balance ourselves and still flip the page without falling over. We read at the coffee shop, and even at the pub. Our ‘wish lists’ keep getting bigger. Our goodreads lists grow to massive, unruly proportions. And sometimes, we find ourselves re-organizing our books. Like sirens to a lone sailor, each one calls out to us, ‘please read me next, please read me next.’ Sliding the book back into its place, we may even feel a somber twinge because we already have made a commitment to the other books we’re reading. Sometimes we feel guilty, as if cheating, when we put one book aside for another.
Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Sundial’ will have to wait another day. So will D.H. Lawrence and his ‘Sons and Lovers’. And Walter Miller’s ‘A Canticle of Liebowitz, I’ll get to you someday soon. Perhaps it will be a rain-soaked afternoon in my favorite chair, or perhaps in summer, laid up on the beach under an umbrella, staining each page with sunscreen.
I’m not getting a kindle, not just yet. I know having one will make my life easier. No more worrying about where I’ll store books if I move into a smaller apartment. No more hassling myself about why I could have got a digital copy for $2.99 instead of the buying the original hardback for $29 from an online collector. I’ll deal with all that when the time comes.
For now though, there’s 200+ real books calling for my attention.