I think a lot about books. There were always books, from my earliest memory. I can thank my parents for that. My mother's reading habits and my dad's willingness to drive me to the library in the next town every Saturday morning.
Yesterday I took a day off for much
needed rest. Surrounding me on the bed were my laptop, my Kindle, a
paper copy of "The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland" - a kind and
timely gift sent from Michaela in Germany. And, of course, the ever
changing plethora of cats.
I hear a lot of
discussions about how sad it is that paper books are going away. Of
course they are. Paper is going away --or at least its widespread use.
I don't have a problem with that, short of a little nostalgia. This is
the information age after all, and I love it. I have a library that
fits into my purse, windows into the world in my house. Any question I
have can be answered in the time it takes to ask it.
Everything has a price. Remember beautiful stationery? You may not,
but I do. Printed and scented and tied up in pretty boxes. So exciting
to choose the new box. So thrilling to get a fancy envelope in the
mailbox. But then, once upon a time the sight of a woman's ankle
could send a proper man swooning. (And no, I wasn't alive for that,
having grown up in the relative freedom of the 70's.)
We move on.
of us will always love paper books. Of course we will. They are our
childhoods. And they likely won't disappear overnight, wiped out by a
single cataclysm. Instead, they will evolve into something else.
will become artful, valuable and precious. I expect that in short
time the word "book" will replace "electronic book" and "paper book"
will replace "book." Or some such. Time will tell, and less of it than
we may think.
I'll do what I can to preserve my small library of
precious editions - my Sturgeon, Padgett and Leiber, my Bradbury, Asimov
Some argue that reading is going away.
Yes, indeed it is. Language is changing at a logarithmic pace and
videos replace words and pictures. This, to me, is a larger concern
and another topic.
But hopefully there will always be
those of us who love language. Writing is an art form. A sentence so
well crafted to give us pause will hold its place as such. Time will
choose the classics of every era, including this one. At least I hope
for this. Stories can be read on screens as well as on paper. In the
end, it's the words that matter.
Despite my many faults
and missteps, I've done my part as my parents did, in that all of my
offspring read for pleasure. And each of them writes creatively. I
don't have to wonder if they will pass the love of language on. That's
not my concern, but theirs.
filled with longing for paper books, go to the library or a used book
store and breathe deeply. Look at the light slanting across the stacks,
dust motes dancing between. And don't be sad about books. If you love
them, you'll always have them.
Hope your Saturday is inspiring.