Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Shame, Shame. Real books are not my secret love

All my life I've been a book lover.  Everything about a book helped feed that voracious void inside me -- the smell of ink on paper, the feel of sharp-cut vellum in a cardboard spine, the weight of the words in my hands, a story held open with my thumb and pinkie finger tacking down the paper.

Trips to the library saw me taking out ten novels at a time, loving the possibilities for adventure or love or drama so easily obtainable just by opening a page.  In the States, I frequented the second-hand bookstore, inhaling the scent of books like heady incense (when it wasn't ruined by someone's lack of deodorant).

And here, in Geneva, I smiled when I walked up the creaky stairs to the local English bookstore to pick up books on order.  It was worth dropping 25chf on a novel if only just to run my fingers along the multicolored spines on the shelves, if only just to walk home with a whole new world sized to fit in my shopping bag.

But then, something happened.  Something terribly, awfully awesome.  Something I said would never, ever occur:

I got a Kindle.  And I was hooked.

It's really my appetite's fault:  when I read, I eat --popcorn, cereal, vegetable curry.  Do you realize how hard it is to hold open a traditional book with all its pages and eat rice at the same time?  Do you understand that I've propped open stories with salad tongs and clothespins and full cans of ravioli just so I could read during a meal? 

I tried.  I really, really tried.  But I cannot deny it:  the e-reader seduced me!

I love its flat surface, the ease of keeping it "open".  I enjoy how I don't need a nightlight to read by or that the pages don't get ripped.  It needs no dusting.  And I can buy a book, two books, twenty books -- and have them -- in the time it takes to push a button.

Shame on me.  I know.  A writer who prefers e-readers.  Where is the literary world going?  What will happen to the local commerce?

But just know that I'm reading more than I ever was.  My hunger is not just for the edible.  I'm craving books.  With such a huge expanse of them out there (and so easy to buy with one click) I will never be sated.  And for those of you who write, this is a Good Thing.  Really.

Feed me, says the voice inside me. Fill that void.  And I do.  I will.

I just turn on my e-reader.

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