I need books. All the time. I’ve always stated that if I become homeless the shopping cart I push will be full of discarded novels. So when I go away on vacation, I bring books. Yes, real books, with covers, and binding, and fragrant pulp wafting from the pages. Our vacations consist of road trips throughout the U S 0f A. Oh, you are thinking, well, yeah, she could be reading while the husband drives. Nope, I navigate, no GPS, just me, a map and a pencil. And a lot of getting lost. Sitting by a motel pool, she could get in some light reading. Nope, no time to sit by pools, we are on the go go go, all day and parts of the night. Before she goes to sleep? Yes! And I do, for about one minute, because I’m completely exhausted from staring at giant Muffler Men or unusual tombstones and fall asleep.
So, for heaven’s sake, why bother you ask? Because even if I’m not going to be reading books, I need some near.
And that’s why I scoff at the suggestion I should be using a cold flat thing to read during that one moment of time. Because ‘why lug around piles of books’ when all of them can be on a godless device? Whatever name they go by, they’re still soul less entities that require scrolling, flicking, moving one’s fingers over a lifeless white bright screen that exudes the artistry of a dead fish. ‘But it’s so lightweight, and holds thousands of books.’ Why would I want a thing that can contain thousands of books? A list on a computer becomes my TBRP? (to be read pile) What fun would that be? Gee, let me push Gone With The Wind up from number 3,467 to 2,044 and lower Animal Farm down to 6,985. I don’t like pigs anyway. The Netflix of books. Oh, so there is no list? (I’ve no idea) You just punch in the name of the book you want? How do you know what book you want? Are there virtual jacket flaps? Oh no, don’t tell me that one has to rely on reviews by people with time on their hands at Amazon? Yeah. that’s what I want, some person in Idaho telling me how wonderful Wuthering Heights is, but she wishes the ending were different, because it was sooooo sad. How does one decide what new release is the perfect fit for them?
And then there’s the actual reading of said recommended title from ‘Booklover’ in Montana. Oh the tactile thrill of moving page after page on a eye crossing little itty bitty screen. (Yes, I know it isn’t miniscule, it just seems so) I suggest as an upgrade they add the sound of pages flicking, the plop a book dropped makes, and especially a scratch and sniff portion for when you crave a hit of fresh bound paper and glue. (or an alternative of aged pulp and slight musk.)
I realize that this is ‘The future!’ Listen, I’ve seen Star Trek, the Next Generation’s Jean-Luc Picard’s glassed encased Shakespeare, an example of what humans USED to call a book. I understand that I sound like my grandmother refusing to learn how to use a microwave so tried to cook entire meals in her toaster oven. However, sometimes the ‘future’ isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. The Edsel–the future in car excellence. Zeppelins, the future of travel. The atomic bomb, the future of warfare. ‘Nuf said. But even if book as computer turns out to be a popular choice, that doesn’t mean it is the best choice. It will never be my choice. Good grief, what would I fill the rest of my shopping cart with?