I've been thinking about books lately, not the stories but the actual physical things. With all these ereaders coming on the market, I fear the end of our long relationship is nigh. Mine has been a love affair. Aah. The physical heft, the dog-eared pages, that smell of paper and incipient mold...there is comfort.
For years I kept a collection of my favorite books, as well as the old standards every library should have- Bible, oversized dictionary, etc.... Course, I never had one of those wood paneled libraries to keep them in, and by the time I- in straitened circumstances- moved across the country to Florida, I came to the realization that there were no library ladders in my future, and I really didn't want to pay the freight, literally. So after donating my professional stuff to various libraries, I embarked on my new life, accompanied only by the books of my youth: The Happy Hollisters and Georgette Heyer romances.
To my surprise, I've survived quite nicely since then. Last year, I even sold the Heyer novels on Ebay, no problem. I've found that I feel lighter, the Feng Shui is better in my house. Those of us who live in Florida learn quickly that between the heat and the bugs nothing survives in sheds and garages, so books tend to become dust magnets. Fortunately we don't have basements, and attics are vestigial architectural appendages.
So part of me loves the idea of the ereader. No more searching the house at all hours of the night for something to read, hiring a private detective to locate an obscure author's early novels. Think of the convenience. They're fun. And who wants to be a dinosaur?
I comfort myself with the thought that the disembodied tale floating in cyberspace shares in the paperless state of the storytelling of old. Not so bad. But stories were told around a fire in the company of other human beings. The ereader seems a bit sad, a lonely, sterile undertaking.