Marie-Lan Nguyen (User:Jastrow), 2008-04-11
(Check her out: Girl is so confused she can't decide what to read with.)
I hopped on the plane to Dublin last April, excited out of my mind. It was the trip I had been waiting pretty much all of my life for. And slung on my back was a little pack full of everything I'd need to survive my eleven days: makeup, a camera, my passport, cash in dollars and euros, an iPod, a tiny computer loaded up with Skype and the internet so I could both call the kids to make sure they were alive and eating actual food, and check in with the friends by sending an electronic "Doodz! I'm in Ireland!" Also See's chocolates.
Plus twenty-five books.
Some dear friends of ours had given us a Kindle for Christmas. And while before that, I had spit in the general direction of eReaders–Give me real books, or give me . . . er . . . other real books!–I was reluctantly becoming addicted to the thing. Twenty-five books in my carry-on to Ireland! Come ON.
I mean, with a Kindle I can jump back and forth between three books while waiting at the orthodontist's office. I can throw half a library into my purse in two seconds flat on my way out the door. And whilst on my dream-trip to Eire, I was going to be able to lie on beds of shamrocks, nosh on Irish bacon, and electronically leaf through twenty-begorrah-five books. On something the size of a steno-pad. (Remember those?)
I was in lurve.
O the thrill at Whisper-Net-ing the latest exciting plot to my device in the merest of seconds! The rapture of lower prices and thousands of titles to choose from. The thrill of being just about anywhere, flipping my purse open, and being dropped onto the train tracks in Cold Sassy, Georgia faster than two blinks of a word devouring eye. For more than a year, I've been in heaven.
But . . .
Erm . . .
I kind of miss . . . artwork. Embossed in shiny bold hues, or deep jeweled strokes, or violently bright splashes across a dust-jacket. I like running my fingers across plumped-up braille-like lettering in the title. Referring back to the picture when I come upon that scene. Or just remembering a character's eye color.
My hands miss the emotional involvement of turning pages. How does this sentence end? Wait! Let me go back and read it again. Slowly. Seductively. Replay and discovery. Turning pages makes me part of the scene.
The weight of the book feels like life. And when I hold a thick tome in one hand (or two), I've got a world clasped there, waiting for me to open it and embrace it again. Waiting for me to fall in head-first.
My eyes miss actual paper and ink, my nose wants to smell the pages. And walking into a bookstore filled to the rafters with hard and soft-bound volumes? Delicious sensory overload from the smells of parchment, coffee, and adventure.
So. The verdict. After a year with my eReader . . . Thank you! You're so handy! I love traveling with you! But . . .
SAVE THE BOOKSTORE! I'VE GOT SHELVES AND SENSES TO FILL!