Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Kindle and My Books

Last year for Christmas I received a Kindle from my dear husband, who knows how much I love books. It has been one of my dearest friends all year long, allowing me access to inexpensive versions of all of the books I currently wish to read, and I would heartily recommend it to anyone who likes to read, and wishes to purchase books on the spur of the moment.
But how, you may wonder, does it compare to reading an actual paper and print book? I won't confine this to an actual review of the kindle, because anyone with even a limited imagination can imagine what it would be like to hold a plastic device and click a button instead of turning a page. What I will say is the biggest difference is the actual purchasing of the book.
Indulge me, just a moment, will you? Imagine a 9 year old girl, already in love with books, taken to "the big library" by her parents. It was rumored to be haunted by the lady who first lived in the old house, turned into a library, and she could be seen on the third floor occasionally. But the children's books, the ones I was interested in, were in the basement. That's right, the basement. As in , creepy, dark stairway, and old oak desk with scary lady at the helm. But past all of that, past creepy librarian and dark stairway, were the books. Rooms and rooms of them, picture books, first readers, first chapter books, Nancy Drew, A Wrinkle in Time, The Chronicles of Narnia, Madeline, The Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler, all of them. And they smelled like books. Like books should smell, I mean. And that scary lady at the desk? Well. She had the nerve to make me wash my hands before I handled them. I hated that then, but now I totally understand.She knew, you see, that not all of those books would be reprinted again, and that we had to take care of the copies we had.
Fast Forward. 32 years later. All of those books are at my fingertips again. They don't smell like books should smell, and I don't have to get past the scary librarian lady at the big desk to get to them. But they are mine. I never have to return them. I never have to explain to the librarian why I'm checking out Agatha Christie, A bible commentary, Nancy Drew, and The Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler, all at the same time. I can read them anywhere. In a hospital waiting room, during naptime, in the middle of a football game. No one asks why I'm reading a children's book, or a theology dissertation, or an Amish fluffy cozy mystery. It's my world, you see. I get to control what goes on there, what goes into my mind. Mind candy, love stories, biblical commentary, british mystery stories, stuff I read as a kid. It's all mine!
And, as a bonus, in my mind, I can always remember that first visit to the big library, the hope of seeing a ghost, the smells, and even the scary librarian lady at the big desk. It's mine, all mine. All at the touch of a button.

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