I live close to a Simon & Schuster distribution center, which likely has people hauling boxes of books and loading tractor trailers so books can reach the shelves for our grubby hands. Still, I had thought how romantic it would be to work for a big publisher, plus I could probably ride my bike there.
I also want to stop carrying my Mary Poppins purse. It’s more like luggage these days and I could probably help an army of people survive an epic catastrophe with its contents. One of the mainstays of my bag is a book, usually just one, but sometimes two. The weight of this thing is wreaking havoc on my shoulders, so I’ve been seriously considering getting the Nook.
I like the idea of the Nook better than the Kindle because I can borrow from the library still or purchase books at different stores, rather than being stuck to Amazon.com with the Kindle. I like the idea of having something light and portable, and let’s face it; I could become a greedy American and shout “More is better!”. Why I would need to carry 1,000 books is beyond me, but maybe it would be cool to read whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and without hauling a pallet of books in tow.
Like most things in life, I’m torn between my appreciation for the old-fashioned or traditional ways but also for how technology can make things so easy. I certainly don’t want to put Simon & Schuster employees out of work but I also want to keep my shoulders from separating from the rest of my body. In all honesty, I don’t care if I had one book at a time on the darned thing but new shiny things can be appealing too. I take that back, it is not shiny; its matte screen is anti-glare for reading in the sun.
Another factor seems to be that it seems easier to find eBooks by our favorite authors online than in print. Publishers are pushing us toward eBooks because their overhead is drastically minimized from the print options. They also have the ability to use the force of technology to push additional advertising and multimedia on us with the click of the mouse.
We will see what happens. For avid readers, there is something special about holding a book and the musty library scent or the fresh smell of printing ink. If only the Nook was made in America, this decision would feel a heck of a lot easier.
The book Little Women, and maybe a tad bit of the movie, found its way into my mind last week. Not because of my crush on a youthful Christian
Bale or a younger Gabriel Byrne, (don’t judge me) but I thought about Jo March. She, like everyone else prior to the grand creation of typewriters or computers, wrote everything by hand. Can you imagine writing a novel by hand? What if my annoying little sister (I don’t have one, but let’s roll with this) threw my freshly inked literary masterpiece, bound by string, into the fire in a fit of jealousy? How would I remember the precious details, all the intricate quirks of my characters and the smooth scene transitions? I suppose my lengthy prison sentence for murder would allow time to rediscover my nuances, but honestly, I couldn’t imagine.
So there I was last night, amped to write you and…Wait, my computer needs to update now? How many updates does Windows need? Why can’t it update when it just sits there…without my need to tap away? The update must’ve been epic because it lasted for hours, overnight in fact, but it led me to my next “old-fashioned” moment. Why don’t I just write my blog on paper? I won’t use a quill, but I could be a bit more like Jo.
Besides the fact that paper can be destroyed, which is horrific, it is pretty amazing to utilize when you can steer your hands away from the
keyboard. I’ll never need to charge paper, update it or have an extended warranty on it. Paper is there for you when you need it, anytime of the day or night, during a power outage or jury duty – bound closely with its paper friends with wire or temporarily stacked with adhesive. Pen on paper is a different experience if you cherish the art of writing. So much can be told based on the rhythm and phases the written word takes on as the mind processes and spills out onto the page. The best lines are written with speed, as if the hand is desperate to catch up with the mind. The unfortunate moments of grasping for words are apparent by scribbles and X’s.
Although I wouldn’t be sharing this with you if it was left on paper, the handwritten word is far more personal and romantic. The uniform
characters and clean lines of the computer have all but erased the rhythmic and sing-song-like loops and scribbles, traded in for the errorless spellcheck numbness of Arial on a white background. On paper I felt my thoughts develop more clearly, amongst the arrows and sporadic slashes that gave an overall order to my thoughts. All in all, I found that writing on paper is ageless and might just be something I’ll continue. I think Jo would’ve been pleased.