Thumbing their spines on a shelf. Measuring their weight in my hand. Clutching their covers while walking down a street. I love real books for all these reasons. And so many more.
This love affair began early in my life, sometime around second grade. Even before I could read, I accumulated paperback books. I wanted to own as many as possible. I remember counting the days until the Scholastic book fair rolled into our cafeteria and set up shop on the main stage, filling our lunchroom with the smell associated with our library.
So when I received an Amazon Kindle this past Christmas, I was excited to become a member of the e-books community. Though somewhat hesitant, I was intrigued how this gadget promised to change how I could read (any book, any where, any time!). Call me old fashioned, but using this sleek and sexy device for reading felt like I was cheating on every hardback book ever printed. I didn’t know if I could do it.
“If I make the transition to all e-books,” I asked myself, “will I ever go back to ‘real’ books?”
Paralyzed by this e-dilemma, I let months pass, as my Kindle sat on the desk next to the bookshelf, collecting only dust. With perfect bedside manner, it starred politely at me every night. Even when I reached for my hardcover companion. Night after night, I’d look at it and think, “One day I’ll pick you up and love you! One day soon … I promise!”
And then it happened. Unexpectedly a weekend getaway popped onto my social calendar, and with only moments to pack my carryon luggage, I glanced around for something to read. Off in the distance, I spotted my Kindle. “Hmmm,” I thought. “Maybe this is the perfect bonding weekend for the two of us. Alone on an airplane. Nothing to distract us. Why not!”
Quickly I bundled my lonely Kindle in a sweater and shoved it into my bag. At the airport, my flight was delayed an hour. I unzipped my bag and searched for something to do. Immediately the Kindle slid into my hands. I held it for a moment and gave it a thorough inspection.
Clinched between my right and left thumbs and my two index fingers, I perched the device in my lap. Feeling its weightless buoyancy, I marveled how easy it was to hold. Much lighter than any book, it felt warm between my palms. Running my fingers over the keyboard and across its side buttons, my heart raced when I considered the endless possibilities of our future (?) relationship.
I turned it on. Up popped my virtual library. Thousands of titles to choose from and in 60 seconds, any of them could be mine. Instant pre-gratification. I was smitten: easy to hold, easy on the eyes, ours was love at first click.
Not wanting to have my seductively fun device go to waste, I sucked up my romantic notions about what reading is “supposed” to be and gave my e-reader a whirl by downloading my first book. Within minutes, I had read 10 percent of the book, but even then, I couldn’t put it down. And with stamina to last all day, my Kindle had no plans on slowing down. So as I waited for my flight to arrive, I clicked and clicked and clicked away, engrossed in a love I never saw coming.
It’s been several months since that first date, and I’m still just as in love as I was on that faithful morning. I can’t help it. I’m a sucker for an easy read.
There are books I stack on a shelf and books I pack and bring on vacation. There are books I give to a friend when they’re in need of a recommendation and books I love because of the stories they tell.
Now there’s the Kindle, so we can have all of these whenever we want. Because, as they say, selection matters.