The latest reading craze is a portable reading device. They are manufactured under several names--if you are an Amazon user you have probably heard of the Kindle.
My husband just bought one of these, and I must say that every thing that appalled me about a hand held internet reading device before one arrived in my home still appalls me now. This reading device is so repulsive--I could not even look at it. I won't bother to describe it or its features--mostly because just looking at it sends cold chills up and down my spine. Suffice to say, my husband is thrilled that at the push of a button you can download any book from among 160,000 titles and begin reading. No more driving to the bookstore or waiting in the library queue or waiting for your special order to arrive by mail. You just push a button a voila--the words are there on your screen.
I have begun to panic that this portable reading device is the beginning of the end for books and bookstores and libraries. My husband challenges me.
"Why do you care? Books are wasteful. They take up resources. With my reading device, no trees are cut down and no gas is wasted driving to the library."
Okay, I feel bad about that, but look what is at stake!
I love books. I love how they feel--smooth and cool. I love to turn pages and I love the way you can set them side by side on your shelves and reminisc about fond memories with favorite characters, or what you learned from some intrepid heroine. I love the different sizes and covers. I love the picture of the author on the back and I love how they smell. I have always worshipped at the altar of books, and I know that any answer can be found in a bookstore or a library--the shelves and aisles are filled with possibilities.
I cannot imagine having no books in my house. In the case of the portable reading device--I think you don't even get diskettes or computer chips. I think you simply get a little link to click on your hand held device.
I cannot imagine a sadder world than one where all my books are condensed to a few clicks on a computer screen. Can you?