Wednesday, May 19, 2010

digital life

Fully aware that what I am about to write confirms the old-manness of my soul, and I can deal with that. There has been much talk from some of my more avid reading colleagues about these contraptions, and I have started to see them pop up everywhere when I am out an about, and I must confess—they make me uncomfortable. I am, of course, speaking of the anti-christ of literacy. The Kindle and Nook—those ‘iPod’ for books thingies. Where you have this little screen and you can upload novels digitally.
Chad was always wonderful to me, always. Spoiled me rotten. A few months before he left, Christmas was drawing close. We were having a conversation about something I was reading and he started talking about the Kindle, which had just come out and was around three hundred dollars. Being the overly opinionated person I am, I went off about how much I hated them and couldn’t fathom why someone would want one. He gave me a sheepish grin and muttered something about being glad he hadn’t bought me one for Christmas yet and that he’d need to rethink things. The year previously had been a pair of designer boots—so gorgeous, I rarely wear them and they are snug in a box, each in their own protective cloth bag. I treasure those boots. While I was very touched by his thought behind the Kindle (it should have been a safe bet, with my love of books and love of iTunes), I was glad we’d talked before he spent the small fortune.
Granted, I also felt this way about digital cameras and digital music. They weren’t real. They took the joy out of touching the things you own—like owning a concept instead of reality. Now, however, I almost have an idolatry problem with those two products. They quite literally have changed my existence.
I don’t think that will happen with electronic books, or movies for that matter, within myself—especially the books. There is something to be said for the feel of the pages as work your way through a novel, the comfort that comes from the written word, the smell of a new book (or an old musty one). I typically refuse to borrow books or check them out from the library. They are like old friends on my shelves. Ones that I frequently look over, lovingly touching the spines—recalling loved ones within the pages, or corresponding drama within the book and where I was in my own life when it occurred.
And, while I will be very happy to know that people are uploading my novels to their Kindles and Nooks one day, I will be even happier to know someone lovingly traces the cover art of my novels as they remember the characters they loved and hated within.

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