I believe the Book to be a sacred object—the heft of one held tightly in my hands or lying open in my lap is a tangible reminder of how a person’s vision can be manifested into a physical thing, a way for the characters and places an author has imagined to inhabit our world in a real way. My affinity for books, especially a new book, doesn’t end with the feel of it, though. I like the way books smell. If I’m very still at my desk at work and hold my head just right, I’m almost certain that I can detect the fresh ink and paper smells that mix so pleasingly with the scent of Joe Mugs coffee two blocks away at Books-A-Million. It’s an intoxicating amalgamation of aromas that tempts me on a daily basis to leave Little Sister to take her own calls from solicitors and telemarketers for a couple of hours while I stumble drunk-like through the aisles of fiction at BAM. In the new era of kindles, nooks, iPads and other e-readers, I have been hesitant to give up these favorite sensory experiences for the convenience and novelty of digital media…until Little Sister presented me with a Kindle Fire HD at Christmas, that is.
Maybe Little Sister noticed that the ample bookshelf in my bedroom is always overflowing? Maybe she suspected I tend to spend more money than I should on books that it takes me months to get around to reading? Maybe she was feeling a little guilty over her Staples Rewards and Ebates-hoarding ways and therefore extra-generous? Maybe she was looking for new means to keep me chained to my desk for a full work week? Who can say for sure? All I do know is that I am now hopelessly in love with an ultra-light, shiny black rectangle that smells like…glass.
I’ve read or listened to FIVE unabridged titles since December 26th. That’s more books in 16 days than I read the entire second half of 2012. I’m like a junkie scoring a fix for as little as $2.99 every three days! I’m not eating. I’m not sleeping. I walk from point A to point B clutching my new toy, snug in a protective leather case, like Charlie Brown’s Linus and his blankey! I’m making great strides in plowing through my reading list. Truth is I’m reading all the time: at my desk, in the car-rider line at school, during half-time at basketball games—virtually everywhere except for my absolute favorite reading place of all: the tub.
All of my favorite books have watermarks at the bases of their spines—I only invite a really great book into the tub with me—and here is where my new love affair with the Kindle Fire HD is being tested. How does one justify lolling in near-boiling hot water for at least an hour with a $300 electronic gadget gifted to her by her new favorite sibling? I risked steam-induced water damage to finish Veronica Roth’s gripping Divergent several days ago, but sitting erect and leaning over the side of the tub to hold my kindle away from my body and tub water wasn’t relaxing in the least and I won’t be trying it again. Print media in the form of traditionally published books will always have a place in my heart…and my bathtub.
How about you? Have you embraced e-readers? Do you have a preferred device? I’d love to hear about your reading experiences.