Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Taken from the pages of a kindle

I've always loved books. When I was 3, my kindergarden teacher had a hardcover novel on her desk. I looked at it, opened it up and I really wanted to know what the words said. When the teacher came by and saw me I pretended to read it and did so with other books until they actually started to make sense. I remember I really loved the word "upon". That word continues to blow my mind.

My favourite book as a kid was The Hobbit. I read it when I was 8 and felt like such a grown-up when I got through it. The Mirkwood in my mind was scarier than any movie I had ever seen and I loved it.

Although it was not yet very cold, they tried lighting watchfires at night, but they soon gave that up. It seemed to bring hundreds and hundreds of eyes all round them, though the creatures, whatever they were, were careful never to let their bodies show in the little flicker of the flames.

Bi-annual Book Fairs were the highlights of my youth (my parents hated them) and I'd leave with about seventy five dollars worth of books. In a town without a bookstore and with the smallest library known to man (I read all the books by the time I was 15), book fairs were a big deal. My medical trips into Winnipeg every so often included the usual trip to McNally Robinson where I'd leave with a backpack full of novels.

I've had friends who would not lend me books because I'd leave them open, face down, to mark my place. I'd intentionally crack the spines. I'd dog ear pages and shove books into my backpack (catching paperback fronts on zippers as I did so). One ol' best friend almost had a heart attack when I dared to make it known that I had read her paperback copy of Bridget Jones.

I like books. And I think this is why I won't get a Kindle any time soon. I mean, I would like a Kindle. After I nearly took off my own head when I was reading a hardcover copy of Stephen King's It in bed, I thought about getting one.

But call me old fashioned but I like being able to see my progress as I make my way through a novel. I like seeing how much further I have to go. I like the wear and tear of paperbacks and putting a hardcover on my lap. I like having the hard copy around and being able to read specific bits over and over again. I also like sharing books and it doesn't feel the same in an electronic format.

And it makes me feel smart to see all the piles of books in my bedroom. I've already given up my CD collection in favour of an iPod, I'm going to keep the books.

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