Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ex Libris

Anyone who knows the C-H clan, knows that we love our technology. We love our Apple products, our biometric lock,  and our Nest.  The Volt sends texts to Maj. C, telling him it is fully charged.  Our solar panels are about to get their own app.  We work hard to have a smart network at our house. For Mother's Day, Maj. C bought me (and himself) a new ipad.  While I didn't "need" an ipad, it has become a hard working piece of technology.  Now I can't believe I have ever lived without it. . .

E-books, at first glance, are a perfect for the C-H clan-- no clutter, green, and high tech. Thus, it might surprise you that we have piles of books in every room of the house.

Perhaps I am a dinosaur, but I can't seem to love e-books. I like reading magazines on my ipad.  And e-books are handy on long flights when you need a big pile of books (and don't want to carry them).  E-books fit the bill for reading books you know you are the intellectual equivalent of bubble gum and other guilty pleasures (ie, you will only read them once, and you don't really want to admit you own them to begin with).

E-books are also expensive, which is counter intuitive-- after all, there is no corporeal book.  I find lots of great paper books at yard sales for a dollar each.   I was looking for a copy of Travels with Charley to re-read for our trip as my old copy disappeared over a number of transcontinental moves.  The ipad version was $9.99, which seemed like a lot of money for something that would reside electronically on my ipad. It is quite likely that in 10 years, that copy's format would become obsolete and the "book" itself would disappear.  In contrast, a paper book lasts for decades and gives me a semblance of permanence in a world of ephemera.
Our bedroom book clutter
There is something anti-social about e-books as they reside only on one's private tablet. Sitting on a shelf, a paper book is an invitation.  It seems like a compliment on one's hospitality when a house guest is curled up on the couch, racing to finish a borrowed book before they leave.  As a child, I enjoyed reading my way through my parent's books. There was nothing better than finding out new authors and worlds and discussing them with my family.  Aside from the book itself there were a whole host of questions.  Where did they buy the book?  How old were they when they read the book?  What did they think of the author?  If I was bored, I would go to our family book hoard and pick something to read.  Even if the book was not to my liking, the conversation afterwards made it interesting.  A paper book is gift. More times than I can count I have been on the receiving and giving end, pressing a book into a friend's hands, saying, "You must read this. . ."

Our copy of Steinbeck's trip across America seemed like it deserved a bit of shelf space.  So what did I do? I found a $3 used copy on Amazon. Maybe Bunny will read it someday.

No comments:

Post a Comment