Wavering between tomorrow and yesterday


Source: thephoenix.com

Source: thephoenix.com

My guess is that most readers of this blog have at one time or another sampled an e-reader, tablet, or equivalent technology to slowly peruse an electronic version of a book. If you are like me, you probably found them to be technologically intriguing, but also a bit detached. Compared to flipping the pages of a bound set of pulp and prose, an e-reader can have the charm of a splinter. That is not to say they are not convenient, just that they lack the companionship of a book. Who hasn’t sat up late at night, curled on the sofa, reading the last chapter of a story you simply cannot put down?

Source: agbeat.com

Source: agbeat.com

At the same time, lugging a pile of cumbersome books around can be a giant pain in the ass, especially while being transported around our sardine can world. So…if you are like me, you probably waver between the new and the old, the future and the past, the potential and the legacy, or tomorrow and yesterday. We not only go back to the future, but ahead to the past, by wavering between sleek 21st Century reading options and a traditional book that has barely advanced from Gutenberg’s Bible.

Source: en.wikipedia.org

Source: en.wikipedia.org

Personally, I find my Kindle (original design) quite useful and convenient for dabbling in published manuscripts by authors I am not familiar with, downloading a particularly good deal, downloading a classic, or when traveling. Otherwise, please fell a few more trees in the Pacific Northwest for yet another literary mind trip through space and time. That may be quite un-eco sounding of me, but I have yet to be totally disconnected from literature’s motherly umbilical cord of dog-eared pages. Sure. Call me an old-school mama’s boy, but nearly every person I know who owns or has owned an e-reader eventually expresses a longing for standard, run-of-the-mill books. Many may jettison their e-reader outright or shelve it away to be found centuries from now by archeologists or savvy collectors of each electronic gadgets. Who knows?

Source: pcmag.com

Source: pcmag.com

To a certain extent the revival of vinyl records may have its genesis in the same philosophy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Who could possible enjoy reading liner notes and lyrics, or an artistic album cover in a digital world? It just ain’t the same as lying on your bed or floor to envelop one’s self the penned thoughts of favored musicians, no matter how lame their liner notes may sound today.

Perhaps, just perhaps, I am over-analyzing this topic. The plethora of options out there ought to suit most everyone’s needs. But to me, to give up books altogether for e-readers would be heresy. For I would be tossing aside many years of delightful memories that come alive with the turning of each new page in a book. Somehow, pressing a button to move to the next page doesn’t bring about the same level of literary anticipation and expectation that turning a page of paper does. My only hope is that my grandchildren and their children’s children will have the same opportunity to experience such an emotion as I have.

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9 Responses to Wavering between tomorrow and yesterday

  1. Molly says:

    I still prefer old-school books for myself, but I appreciate digital formats are available for people with disabilities. My dad would be lost without his Kindle. The font in even large-print books can be too small for him.

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  2. I hear you, Rick. I have resisted digital book technology and have only sorry three times. Once when I boarded a plane for Iceland with 3 books, including a hardcover, in my carry-on; once when I was stuck in a hospital waiting room for hours with nothing but outdated magazines to read; and once at midnight when I was craving something great to read before bed and had no way to immediately acquire a story. Like you, I’ve decided each must have it’s place. I think I’ll ask for a Kindle for Christmas, but I’ll never give up my books (or my vinyl).

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    • Rick Brown says:

      Thanks, Bonnie. Great to hear from you! Always wanted to visit Iceland. I’m headed to Ireland for a week on the 21st.

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      • I guessed as much when I read your review of the Dublin book. If I’m not mistaken, you can stop over in Reykjavik,Iceland (awesome city) for up to a week with no additional cost. I went for the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival in October of 2011. Left Detroit Thursday at noon and was back at my desk Monday morning, which didn’t give me nearly enough time to explore all that Iceland has to offer, but proves it’s possible to get a taste for it in a few short days. Safe travels and happy reading.

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      • Rick Brown says:

        Thank you, Bonnie!

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  3. I think I am the only person who does not desire an electronic reader at all. I have tried reading books and long articles online and just can’t get through them unless I print off the pages so I can take notes on them, doodle on them, and keep my place instantly with a little star. But the point of your article is that everyone has their preference. Very good article!

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  4. I love to read. I hate to read. I don’t have time to read. I only read Christian books. I’m not good at reading. There’s too much to read. Chances are, you’ve thought or said one of these exact phrases before because reading is important and in many ways unavoidable. Learn how to read, what to read, when to read, and why you should read with this helpful guide from accomplished reader Tony Reinke. Offered here is a theology for reading and practical suggestions for reading widely, reading well, and for making it all worthwhile.

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