I received an email this morning from my friend Susannah Bianchi over at athingirl.com. She said she had not realized it was Memorial Day weekend and the library was now closed until Tuesday – without her having attained her usual stash of reading material for the long weekend. Oh yes, Susannah, it will be a long weekend without that stash!
This got me to thinking about the way we all read these days in this 21st century. Electronically is the not-so-new thing, but it is catching on with a vengeance. I for one, have a kindle, a kindle fire, and a kindle app on my laptop. I also have an audible app on my phone for audio books I listen to while traveling. With one-click on Amazon my book is in my hot little hands in a few seconds!
I love my kindle fire because I can read in bed with out the lamp on, which makes H a happy camper! He doesn’t realize I guess, the TV flickering into the wee hours of the morning sometimes does a number on my sound sleep.
Some people read on their phone with a kindle app. Not me! My idea of reading is not squinting to see the print and scrolling up continuously while trying to enjoy the story. Oh, I know the phones are bigger these days – some as big as a small tablet. But, with my other devices, I don’t have the need.
I do so love a good physical book though. The feel, the weight, and the smell as you turn the written word can not be maintained through all these apps and electronic devices.
And the library! How many of you have children or grandchildren who have never darkened the doors of the public library? In my opinion the library should be open 24/7. And it is if you are reserving your books through the electronic method. There are only so many titles to be had electronically and many, many more out there that will probably never be electronic. In these cases you can have the pleasure of holding a physical book in your hands, flipping the pages and smelling the smell!
I recently purchased a book (North To Alaska by Gordon Stoddard) my Dad had read in 1957 when he decided to homestead in Alaska. I couldn’t get it on kindle – though I really didn’t want it in the kindle format anyway. I wanted to hold the book, to read the words, and to feel what he felt when he read it so many years ago. I had to buy a used copy because it is out of print. What are the odds it is the very same book he held in his hands in January 1959? Probably slim to none since there were no library markings and I feel that is where he probably got his copy. I will have to visit the library in my hometown to see if they still have this book in their stock. THAT could be the one he read. :)
You see, books last for a very long time if they are taken care of and handled correctly. My mother always told us, “Books are your friends.” Yes, our childhood books had colorful scribbles with practiced hand writing and dog-eared pages. There were smudges and sometimes broken spines, but this showed they were well-loved and well-read.
With electronic books that would never happen. Your children may never pick up a book from their childhood, fondly remembering the snuggling in bed for the bedtime story or that cozy reading in a chair on a rainy day. Will they be able to pass these beloved stories to their own children? Yes. But it will be in a more sterile, kindle, electronic way.
I don’t believe Susannah is an electronic kind of girl with her reading list and with the library closed for the holiday she may have to resort to the book store and purchase some reading material to get her through the next few days. Oh, I’m sure she has plenty of, in facts tons of well-loved and well-read books taking up space in her apartment.
The point of this story is, if you don’t already, please frequent your local library as much as possible. Take your children. Take your grandchildren. Visit on a rainy day. I’d hate to see library’s close because of lack of business and from the looks of the way this world is heading that could happen sooner than you think!
If I lived close by I’d run you a few of my titles over to tide you over for the weekend Susannah!
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