Since I got a Kindle for Christmas four years ago, I have been a rock-solid supporter of the e-reader phenomenon. I wasn’t entirely sure I would like it…but once I had it for a week, I wondered exactly how I ever lived without one.
I am the kind of person that re-reads books fairly frequently. First, it cuts down on the (admittedly ridiculous) amount of money I spend on reading material. Second, I think of books the way a lot of people think about movies or tv shows. I lose myself in them; I want to read them once for the story and once for the writing and another time to see how I’ve changed since I read it the first time. And if it’s a book I really like, I’ll read it periodically, because it’s a comfort. It’s losing myself, but in a place that is familiar.
Since I am a re-reader, I of course want all the books on Kindle. Unfortunately, publishing has not entirely caught up with technology. Most new books – even those by holdouts like J.K. Rowling – are now available in electronic format. I’ve discovered several new authors that are (or were) only published electronically. But sadly, a lot of my oldest favorites are now out of print and/or are not available. I’m going to have to break down and hit up the library, I guess…I don’t usually library it because I have a terrible track record with returning them. Back in junior high and high school, this was not an issue. Our local library had a summer volunteer program for 6Ì-8th graders. I tried to sign up the summer before 6th grade, and they told me to come back the next year. So I did. And I did for the two summers after that. After working my ass off as a volunteer, I never ever had to pay another library fine. Sadly, that is not the case now, and after a few unpleasant college experiences (with both movies and books), I decided that in the long run, it’s cheaper for me to just own things.
Anyway, I got the urge to read something again – a book of short stories and poetry from my college days, one that featured prominently in my collegiate competitive speech career. Of course, this book, called Elvis in Oz, is not even remotely in print or available electronically. So I checked around on Amazon, and found a used edition with free shipping. I got it in the mail today.
And I remember why I love actual books again. The book is a collection from writers who were in the creative writing program at Hollins College. The copy I received is autographed – not just by the editors, but by a number of the authors as well. The copy is inscribed “for Frank.” From a cursory glance through the contents, Frank is not a featured author.
However, he must have been someone who figured in prominently at the college – perhaps a professor? Or a patron? But I do wonder how this book ended up at a used bookstore in Kentucky, when the college is in Virginia, and why someone would give away a book that people had so lovingly inscribed with both their signatures and their witticisms.
I love the convenience of having a book with me wherever I go, and never having that horrible feeling of being somewhere that involves a lot of waiting and knowing that you only have one book with you and you’re almost done with it. I love that I can enlarge the font a little so that my terrible eyes can maybe make it without reading glasses for a few years longer. I love that I can bookmark things and not either (a) destroy the pages by folding the corners down or (b) have the bookmark fall out and then have to find my place.
But nothing will ever replace the feeling of home I get in a bookstore or library. And nothing is quite like knowing that the person whose words you’re reading has touched the same pages you are touching.
Song of the Day: Audra Mae & the Almighty Sound – “Little Red Wagon”
Today’s Time Waster: http://bookshelfporn.com
What I’m Craving: A house big enough for a library.