A reason to celebrate and another reason not to

Today I found my lost book! Just another up-side to cleaning my room. It’s a good thing I found it so soon because I hate leaving books unfinished, particularly when I’m enjoying them. I always feel guilty if I don’t.

I like my books very very much. I take good care of them– no bent corners, no stains, no ripped pages. I worry excessively when I lend them out, which is probably why I don’t make a habit of letting people borrow things. I guess I’m selfish that way. I just don’t trust other people to take care of my books unless I know they’re as careful and neurotic about their books as I am.

The worst part is when people borrow books and never return them. I hate that. I hate asking for a book back when the person hasn’t gotten to read it yet, but I hate the thought of never getting it back even more. But I’m no saint. I’ve done it a few times. I’ve checked out novels from the shelves of my middle school English classes and forgotten to check them back in. I’ve borrowed books that I ignored for years before actually reading. They’re on my shelf now. I always feel a little guilty knowing they’re not really mine. But I don’t have the chance (or the heart) to return them.

The Diary of a Disappointed Book from Studiocanoe on Vimeo.
Watch this video. It is wonderful.

People say that Kindles and iPads are going to eliminate the need for physical books. Screw those people. I don’t care if I’m the most old-fashioned, out-of-date, wrinkled, cranky, anti-tech bitch with a library left. I will never prefer reading a book off a screen to reading a book off a page. The rest of the world can embrace their new, innovative gadgets, but I refuse to go quietly into that future.

Maybe it’s inevitable. I’ll probably have to eat these words one day and buy one myself, but I just want to put it in digital ink and say that the young me does not approve.

When I think about it, this has been quite the popular topic. Literary and Publishing blogs have been buzzing about this for a while now. “Is it the next step? Is it end of the world? How will it affect the industry? How will it affect the next generation? How will it affect me?” Blah, blah. I know it’s important and it might even be better for encouraging greater literacy in our society, but I can’t help but be a little sad about it all. I know, I know. “But the environment! But the convenience! But the accessibility!” Pfft. Whatever. It isn’t worth it. Not for me.

I don’t like where things are going. It changes everything. I know that we are constantly evolving and growing and all that, but I just don’t have the heart to see this go too. Maybe this is how people felt with the polaroid, the record player, the mix-tape. Maybe this is how they felt about a lot of things that have been pushed aside for the sake of progress. Not entirely gone, just barely living on memories and nostalgia.

This article in Slate is one of my favorite.

CLICK TO READ MORE (and you definitely should)

The thing is, I don’t want books to be a novelty. I don’t want them to be a thing of the past, something outdated that only Grandpa and Grandma have lying around. I don’t want to browse online and download my next reading venture. I want to peruse shelves and stacks of used books before finding the right copy, or at the very least, I want to go to a bookstore and actually hold it in my hand. I want to be picky and choose the right cover. If I have kids, I don’t want to whip out the Kindle to read before bedtime. I want to dig out my childhood boxes and find those stories that I used to (and still) love. I want to go over to someone’s house, see their bookshelf, and know that we can be friends.

I love what Betsy Lerner says:

Not having a Kindle is going to be considered pretentious, or precious, or perverse. I don’t want to defend not having a Kindle, so I will probably lie, like when someone on a plane or train asks me what I do: I say I’m an accountant. I don’t want to download, I don’t want a designer case, I don’t want to choose my typeface. I don’t want to remember another charger and I don’t want to fiddle with the snake pit of wires under my bed. I don’t want (another) device in my bed. I don’t want to stop using the bookmark my daughter made when she was in the second grade or the makeshift bookmarks: movie stubs, clothing labels, envelopes. I don’t want to stop recording new vocabulary words in the backs of books. And I don’t want to stop  marking passages that sum up the whole fucking world or make me, for just a few seconds, not feel like such a fucking freak because in that brilliant string of words that I can see and touch I know I am not dead or beyond redemption.

I mean, think about it. The term “cover to cover” will mean nothing. “Turn the page” will only be a diluted expression because there will be no page to turn or touch, just a screen to slide your finger across or a button to press when you want to read on. Hell, maybe even HotGuysReadingBooks will cease to exist because there will be no more hot guys reading books. Instead, they’ll be holding iPads and Kindles and reading who knows what. It’s been made quite clear that you can download and read pretty much anything on those devices. Poof, there goes the whole appeal.

I’ll leave it at that because it depresses me to think of how things can change as we get older. I’m not entirely naive. I know this is bound to happen. It’s happening already. I just don’t want to have to face it when it finally hits me.


About Booki
"Somewhere man must know that self-perception is the most frightening of all human observations. He must know that when a man faces himself, he is looking into an abyss."

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