No Vacation From Books For Me

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?

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  • LOVE IT!!! I feel exactly the same way. I think there is a time and place for everything. I have to be honest and say that if textbooks would be available to put on the Kindle for my kids, so that they don’t have to drag hundreds of pounds of books with them all day everyday, I would jump on buying a couple of Kindles or Nooks or whatever. However, for the pleasure of reading a good book, nothing beats the real deal. I too love the smell, the texture and the feel of having a book in my hand. Great piece as always!

  • We’ve had this conversation before… I love this – and of course feel the same way…but just to remind you…you’ll never be homeless. 🙂

  • Great Job! Enjoyed it. Again you’ve struck a strong chord for “the rest of us”. People who just have that desire to hold a book and the responsibility that it carries with it. You have it, you read it, you cherish it, you even share it by physically passing that whole experience to someone else through giving them the book.

    I don’t ever think you will be homeless with a shopping cart full of books. You will be out there though, extolling the merit of books to whoever will listen, kind of like a book missionary bringing your message of mysteries, thrillers, melodramas, romance, history, biography, and maybe even self-improvement to those whose Kindles and nooks and iPads have ceased to function and have failed them. That will be your journey and the Star Trek captain of our future will not only have the Bard in their case, but a ragged copy of ” I Married a Dead Man” by its side.

  • On a sidenote… there’s a woman in Portland, OR who received a grant from a non-profit to bring books to the homeless. I read about her and applauded mightily.

    I agree with the other comments here: you’ll never be homeless; too many people would adopt you in a heartbeat! And there’s no substitute for the thrill of holding a bound book… the cover art, the typeface, the mysterious creases from other readers, the chance to pass it on to a friend or donate it to a public library. And you can mark up your own book, re-read your silly & not so silly comments years later and have those memories add another layer to the experience.

  • You have it, you read it, you cherish it, you even share it by physically passing that whole experience to someone else through giving them the book.

  • Hey guys! Took me awhile to respond, but thanks for the comments and assurances I will not be homeless! I was over my neighbor’s house and she has talk radio on all the time, and some guy was talking talking to various people who claim they will never go back to reading a real book–never! Sigh. I think I should keep every ‘book’ I have now. But I won’t other people deserve to read what I’ve read, and I give the library and various other places the thrill of my finished books–those I can part with, that is.

    Problem is, I buy books at the library sale, and keep coming across hardcovers that sound great, until I see there’s an inscription from the author in it–to me! I have to be careful not to buy my own books back!

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