When I think of a book I think of pages; strong and crisp or worn and tattered, it makes no matter. There is a strength in the spine of the book that reminds me of ancient doorways that once entered bring you to places you never thought you would see. The delicately pressed ink, that through ages will remain, striking out against the starkness of the paper – piercing eyes with new memories of fantasies, illusions, works of art, science, history – the very fabric of millions of individual imaginations. Punctuated with periods, the sighs of commas and the moments when you hold your breath through exclamation. I love books! Each character that I have been given the pleasure to meet, I have remembered through all the days of my life that I have been thankful to have a memory. They live within me, the stories have moved me and challenged me with new ideas and hope. I have been given strength through the lives found within others and when I hold a book in my hand for the very first time, reading from the dedication to the ending bio, I am entranced with it’s welcomed heaviness on my fingers. It is, was, always will be the way I choose to close my eyes and dream.
I like to enjoy books while resting on the couch, my feet reclined and a cup of coffee resting near me; a pillow under my head. Or when I am really into a book, I will read it while I am cooking, snippets while my son is away in the bathroom or outside on a walk with my husband and then at night become thoroughly engrossed while bent over trying to make the words seep into my brain cells and never leave me. Sometimes I will sleep with a book resting near my pillow, on the floor by my feet so I see it first thing in the morning and generally become so engrossed that I cannot even get through a single hour without wondering what is going on with the people because they are people to me rather than characters. Their souls found in in the words and awakened by the turning of those pages that created them. Which is why I cannot… ever… get into an eBook.
I have this imagined fear that one day, many years from now, something will happen that all the sudden we will no longer have any ability to use electronics and all of our history, everything we never kept will be gone. Poof! Because it was in an eBook and people believed that writing things down was too prehistoric. The written word is part of our evolution, it is what made us so uniquely different. Our great histories, our stories, our beloved fairy-tales were all once written. Gone with the Wind was actually handwritten with pen and paper, the entire book, such a feat! Simply remarkable! And now…. now…. there is such a lack of effort it seems and the opening of this digital land has created so many books that those who would have once been remarked as being the next Poe, the next Pynchon or Hemingway are all lost… lost in the billions of random electronic noise that is buzzing around. It actually makes me horrifically depressed.
I always dreamed to one day be a writer and the only thing that held me back, once upon a time, was the inability to sit down and have some patience. Then this entire age came upon me, snuck up on me in the night like a thief and had stolen away the very thing that would have made it all worthwhile to me… recognition. I didn’t want to just write ‘another’ book, I wanted to be recognized as a writer and that could only come from actually being seen, being heard and the cacophony of all the nonsense words screaming over this digital screen makes it practically impossible at times to feel even the slightest bit of possibility.
This is why I always refuse to read eBooks. When someone offers me a .pdf rather than an actual book, I can’t help but stare at them because I feel like they are offering me a picture of what I want – not the real thing. Not the actual physical gift, but just this ripped off version that can easily disappear with a ‘click’! Gone… it’s immaterial.
Am I the only old school soul out there? No. I’m probably going to get flagged by companies that will refuse to do book reviews with me because I won’t read a text file, but oh well… I am an honest person. There are few things I am passionate about in this world and those few things I hold on to with dear life. I became the person I am through one – single – book and I remain that person because I hold on to them and I pass them on to the generations after me. The most precious gift we can give to our children is to tell them a story, to sit with them at the twilight hours and read to them of moments long ago, dreams that were dreamed before them or even the Bible. Now try to imagine that picture with an iPad, an electronic screen with moving – dancing icons and animated characters….
… it just doesn’t fit with how moments are imagined and that’s what stories are, that’s what books are, they’re moments of stilled thought that were captured and placed delicately together by people who strove to push against the tide and become ‘authors’.
I’m not trying to tell people to give up their eBooks. Ha! I am only saying, please don’t ask me to review a story from a computer file. I cannot not do it. I simply cannot do it.
ps: this does not apply to cookbooks because I like food. 🙂