I Love Books
by Mary Maddox
I love their smell, fresh in bookstores or ripened in libraries, enticing me into unknown worlds. I love the heft of a book in my hands, the texture of its pages beneath my fingers, the high gloss of illustrations and photographs. In old books, illustrations were sometimes protected by sheets of onionskin paper. Not anymore. I suspect mechanized book production would crumple onionskin or tear it to pieces. I’m one of many readers who love books in this sensuous way. Since it’s a kind of nostalgia, I expect to encounter it in older readers, but some of my students, college freshmen, felt the same way. “I don’t want a Kindle,” one girl said. “I like to turn the pages.”
And here I run up against a contradiction in myself. I like to turn the pages too, but I own – and frequently use – both a Kindle and an iPad for reading. Part of the reason has nothing to do with reading. I’m drawn to anything electronic and would probably buy every new device to hit the market if I had the money.
I got a Kindle for the convenience. I’m running out of bookshelf space, which I must share with my husband and his hundreds of film and military history books. The books I would have bought in paperback I now buy on Kindle. I can read the Kindle at dinner without staining it with tomato sauce, bring it on trips and have a choice of reading material, and even take it to the gym. No more struggling to turn pages as I work out on the elliptical machine. Finally, there is the instant gratification of ordering a title and having it downloaded in sixty seconds.
I use the iPad mostly for its Internet capability and apps (especially Scrabble!), but it’s more convenient than the Kindle for reading in bed since its backlight makes a reading light unnecessary.
Some writers and publishers are worried about the impact of electronic readers on traditional publishing. How worried seems to depend on the worrier’s economic or emotional investment in traditional publishing. Others are rushing to take advantage of the opportunities in electronic publishing. While change is inevitable, I hope good old-fashioned books will always be available and appreciated. The world would be a poorer place without the smell and feel and page-turning delight of books.
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Genre – Thriller / Horror
Rating – R