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Posts Tagged ‘KY Craft’

I just read my first book on my new iPad.  I don’t know how I feel about it.

I have to admit up front that I got the iPad for free–sort of.  It came along with a graduate study program I’m taking, so my relationship with it is less demanding than it would be if I’d paid cash straight out.  I had to cart it home from Pennsylvania anyhow, and I’d finished my most recent book (THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO….wonderful!).  So I decided to test-drive the iPad on the plane.  I bought Harlan Coben’s new mystery, CAUGHT.  I love Coben, but I don’t usually keep his novels when I’m done.  Bookshelf property in my house is at a premium, like beachfront acreage in Paradise.  It can be acquired only by fabulous artists (like KY CRAFT) or word-geniuses (like DOROTHY DUNNETT).   Coben goes into the library box, so that the next guy can enjoy.

So…the pros:  Reading on the iPad was convenient on the plane.  The page is big enough that I could see even with these weak eyes of mine, but small enough that it didn’t seem to annoy the guy in the seat next to me.  The backlighting worked in the dim atmosphere of a late-night flight.  Flipping through pages is kind of fun (I’m easy to amuse), and the bookmark feature is nifty.

But…the cons:  When I got home, and I crawled in bed at night, ready for my lovely ten minutes of reading before passing out, I looked at the cold, hard metal device and…I didn’t really want to finish the book.  It seemed uninviting, more like a robot than a friend.

It’s a machine.  A machine.  You see, I’m old-fashioned in a lot of ways, one of which is my love of the printed word on paper.   I love the look, the feel, the smell of my eclectic personal library.  I get a warm fuzzy from just glancing over at my big, battered bookcase and seeing the jagged-tooth line of novels, how-tos, histories, poems and childhood leftovers.  I take them for granted far too often.  I don’t organize them properly.  I use them for coasters and paperweights, and, once or twice, to hold open an irritating window.  I tilt them and stack them haphazardly.  I tear their dust jackets and dog-ear their pages.  But, in spite of all this, I love them with the kind of love I ordinarily reserve for family members and old friends.

They stand for so many things: for love and wisdom and laughter, for my heritage, my comfort and my memories.  I grew up in a home with a library that held thousands of books, and my father’s bookplate, faded and curling at the edges, turns any book into a treasure.  No dwelling becomes a home to me until the books are on the shelves.  When I first visited Trinity College’s exquisite library in Dublin, I practically burst into tears, as if I’d finally landed on my home planet.

And yet…I don’t want to be the narrow-minded old bore who won’t embrace the future.  I love learning and changing.  I have been dragged, growling, to a hundred things (Facebook, iPhones, iTunes, tofu) only to end up addicted, unable to imagine life without them.  So to my more-evolved friends out there, I pose the question.  What’s wonderful about reading books on machines?  Help me see the light!

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