“When you sell a man a book you don’t sell just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night- there’s all heaven and earth in a book, a real book.” ~novelist Christopher Morley
I have always loved to read. Some of my earliest memories are of the library in Arkansas where I learned to read: the chalky-white walls, the blue felt-like carpet, and the endless cases of books—the taller ones, of course, had the magical adult books. But I remember loving two things about that library—the books, and the name placards that children could earn by reading lots of books. Yes, I earned lots of placards, but mostly I learned to love to read for the experience of reading a book—to open the cover of a new book was to open the portal to a new world. I still love reading books, and discovering new worlds, experiencing the world through a new character and learning as I read.
About six months ago, when we moved to Prague, our easy access to new books evaporated in an instant. But, this week, I scored a huge triumph. I configured my first international book order, effectively breaking down the barrier to getting new books. I’m elated!
Seth Godin recently said this about e-books versus paper-and-ink books: “Sometimes the goal is to make change happen. A book is a physical souvenir, a concrete instantiation of your ideas in a physical object, something that gives your ideas substance and allows them to travel … unlike just about any form of electronic media, you get to read the book at your own pace, absorbing it as you go.”
I agree. To me, spending time reading at leisure words permanently printed onto paper is an enriching experience to be savored. The transience of blinking cursors isn’t the same, disappearing so quickly in our e-world that it hardly bears existence at all. But a physical book is a piece of timelessness in page form, with an experience lingering in my mind like the vibrant colors of a stunning sunset, forever changed and moved by the subtleties of savoring.
So, though I blog into the transient e-web-world and spend countless hours putting letters in the space of the blinking cursor writing novels, and even though I read my news, and emails, and blogs, and school updates electronically, I still am not ready to settle down and pleasure read a great novel from a screen. I look forward to every novel I read—especially the ones coming in a few weeks, via international mail. Whichever way we choose to read, whether on an e-page or a paper page, here’s to to reading and the richness of the reading experience.
Starting the conversation (click to leave a comment, below): What are your reading habits? Have they changed in the digital age—iPad, Kindle, e-Reader? And, do you recommend any great books you’ve read lately?