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HOLDING A BOOK January 8, 2011

Posted by lycan librarian in Books and reading.

     There are constant arguments these days about whether the Kindle and EBooks will replace printed books. Let me rephrase that — there are constant arguments these days about how quickly the Kindle and EBooks will replace printed books. For some of us, though, we simply can’t believe, and will not allow that to happen. We love the experience of holding a book, which is not at all the same experience as holding an electronic device.

     I don’t own anything yet on which I can download books to read, but probably wouldn’t mind reading a limited amount of novels and occasional non-fiction books on one. But those devices will never, ever, replace my reference books. The thesaurus I use is one I received for Christmas when I was in seventh grade. It automatically opens to certain pages, and there are dozens of old bookmarks, Valentines, cartoons and newspaper clippings marking other spots. I am never tempted, while writing on my computer, to zip over to the Internet to use an online thesaurus because my ratty old thesaurus with the green leather cover is an old-school version arranged by category rather than alphabetically. That means if I can’t find the elusive synonym I need, where I thought it would be, I can keep looking in that category, and there is an excellent chance I will soon find that perfect word.
     I also have reference books I have used for decades. They’re old friends, and although I don’t dog-ear pages, it is quite evident which pages are most used. Many of my reference books have gorgeous full-paged color pictures which inspire me, and their smell is familiar and welcome. As I browse through them, I recall the other times I had used them, and I always enjoy rekindling and savoring those memories.
     I know we live in a society where we throw things away with little thought and think everything can be replaced, but it can’t. Remember that old Twilight Zone with Burgess Meredith where all he wanted to do was read?  While he was holed up in a basement to hide with his books, the world was bombed, and he climbed out to find himself alone. He rushed to the library and wallowed in the piles of books, but then, in his excitement, he dropped and broke his glasses. His eyes were so bad, it was then impossible for him to read, or to try to find and raid a local eye doctor’s stock. A horrifying thought for any avid reader, isn’t it?  But, think about it. What would happen, in a post-apocalyptic society, to Kindles and EBooks? You know the answer to that one, and so do I.  That’s why I would be the one, during the nuclear winter, walking down the gray ashy road in six layers of tattered clothes with a wheelbarrow full of books. Hopefully, I will encounter literate cannibals and zombies who are hungrier for a good story than for brains or flesh. Then I’ll be able to trade the books to save my skin so I might live to read yet another day.



1. scor21 - February 15, 2011

Books are irreplaceable! No way will ebooks rule! In fact how could ebooks overcome the feel, smell and freshness of a book. Ebooks are pieces of data stuck in cloud space nothing more! Books are personal, a part of who we are! (http://switchtheshift.wordpress.com/)

lycan librarian - February 15, 2011

I couldn’t agree more!

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