One Old Fart’s Thoughts on Digital Readers
One of the most expensive books I ever purchased was a textbook compilation of all of Shakespeare’s works for my 400 level Shakespeare class in college. Thousands of pages, infinitesimally thin paper, small type, green hardback cover.
Being upfront about my dorkiness, I loved that book.
We called it “mean green”–it was just a huge massive textbook. So, when the class finished and the time came to sell it back, I chose to keep mean green and proudly place it on my bookshelf.
For the longest time, I kept the book out on my coffee table, basically to impress guests with my scholarliness–Wow, he reads Shakespeare. Why else would he place it on a coffee table in his den next to the most recent issue of Golf Digest, they must have thought.
When my future wife visited my apartment for the first time, she noticed the book and, much later, commented to me that it was a dorky move. I agree. I was such a tool.
Anyway, all that to say that I love hardback books. You place them on the shelf. You put them on the coffee table. Simply glance at the book and you’re reminded of the time you read it, the plot, the characters–everything about it.
Part of my love of that Shakespeare book came from how it reminded me of the hard-earned A I managed in that difficult class. That’s what good books do…they are almost like an old photo that takes you back to another time and place.
That’s why I haven’t been able to get into Kindles and digital books. My wife loves them. I know many people who love them. And that’s absolutely, positively super cool. I just can’t dig them for some reason.
I’d like to think I’m somewhat technologically savvy. I’ve got an iphone, iPad (with a reader that I don’t use much)–all of that fun stuff. But I can’t get into the idea of digital books.
Maybe I’m just an old fart at heart. I worry that I’ll buy 100 books, and they’ll somehow get deleted off the Kindle’s hard drive. But, more than that, I worry that I’ll forget about the books I’ve read. They won’t be sitting across from my desk to remind me.
One of the biggest difficulties, for me, of this 101 book journey will be just figuring out where to put all of the books. Downloading them on a Kindle or my iPad would solve that problem quickly. But, then, they’ll be stored on some microchip, not on my bookshelf.
I think Holden Caulifield, Atticus Finch, Winston Smith, and Aslan deserve to be on a bookshelf, not a microchip. But, like I said, I’m an old fart at heart, I guess.
Are you a Kindler?