Tonight Plinky asks if I would own an e-book reader . . . what do you think?!
No. Quite simply. I appreciate that for those who travel constantly, packing libraries worth of literature is completely unwieldy. I also appreciate that for technology buffs, a kindle or ipad or other such ‘things’ is just another item in a long list of must have gadgets. But for me, they are welcome to them. I am quite happy for this ‘revolution’ to go forth, as I am to allow a lover of computer reading to argue their place in the world. But it won’t fit into my world. But then again, I am a reading purist.
I like the idea that people are thinking a little beyond the box edges in that it may encourage some children to read a little more (can you sense my opinion here?) due to the simple fact that this is a ‘modern’ gizmo that all the cool kids are talking about. But realistically, in practice, will they ever take over? Are they really the book of the future? I certainly hope not.
Nothing can possibly replace the whole essence of reading, the whole experience of opening a book. Holding a rigid screen in not the same as turning a crisp page and hearing the crinkle of paper; or bending back a cover and spine to hear that first creak and happy sigh; the soft brush of paper as you flick through the pages and the smell, oh the smell! I am often regarded with a peculiar look (usually from Steve) as I stand in a book shop, whether selling old or new, and open to a central page and take a deep, intoxicating breath of print.
Books have history, their journeys and owners a mystery that sparks the imagination – this sort of dreaming cannot come from a box of plastic and wires. There is some kind of emotional attachment to seeing row upon row of much-loved and much-read books in every room of a house, a personality and atmosphere allowing strangers an instant window into one’s soul. Such cases of books also make for handy insulation in winter! So perhaps an e-reader reader is a minimalist, someone who simply cannot cope with clutter or someone who already has decent central heating. Perhaps it is merely the fact that I am a book hoarder which prevents me from pining for one of these shiny light boxes.
But I suspect not. A book is a living thing, it has beauty and a soul as much as you and I. They should be read, brought to life and enjoyed. I doubt very much if I could glean anything close to the same satisfaction, no matter how ‘realistic’ they can make these virtual novels.
Again, I can appreciate that technology has a path to carve and a dent to make in the reading world – but it will not be admitted here. But please, do try to convert me, I could do with some entertaining!