Today at work one of my co-workers was talking about needing a new book to read. My ears perked up.
“Do you have a Kindle?” I asked. “Because if you have a Kindle, I can loan you the one I just finished.”
She scrunched up her nose and gave me the line I used up until two months ago: “I prefer real books.”
Truth be told, so do I. When we were kids and my dad was in grad school, my parents had essentially no money for presents or treats for my brother and I. Yet somehow, once every month or so my mom would scrape up enough nickels and dimes to take us to the used bookstore and let us each pick out a couple of books. That bookstore held more adventures than Disneyland in my mind.
I started reading at the age of four and was immediately hooked. In fact, rather than taking away “screen time” as a punishment, my parents would limit the amount of time I was allowed to read. They’ve since told me that was a difficult decision, as they didn’t want to discourage me from learning. They needn’t have worried–today I go through books as fast as I go through bottles of wine, which is saying something.
So I too was in the quickly shrinking group of bibliophiles who couldn’t bring themselves to leave the smell (that wonderful smell!) and texture of books behind for an e-reader. And then one day I looked around our little apartment and realized we had simply run out of space for new books. There was the giant bookcase my parents had given me as a graduation present, books doubled up on each shelf. Then there was the bookcase/window seat my husband had built me as a present for our first Christmas, also doubled up on books. Then there were the windowsills, our mountain views buried behind stacks and stacks of books. Spare drawers around our apartment were filled with books. Either we needed a bigger house, or I needed to find a compact solution.
Hmm… which one should I read today?
So I got a Kindle. And no, just to be clear, Amazon is not giving me a single dime for writing this post. I’m quite certain Amazon has no idea this blog exists. I still have mixed feelings about my move away from building up my library of “real” books to building up my library of e-books. I make a point to visit my local bookstore at least once a month and buy a book for a friend, just so I’m not letting a big online store take away from my local hangout.
Guilt aside, I’m grateful for my e-reader. Without it, the great views we have of the mountains would be completely blocked with poetry collections and the complete works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Even more than gratitude for that little piece of technology, I feel gratitude for living a literary life, one filled with friends painted in the medium of typeface. It doesn’t matter if I get to feel the turn of the pages between my fingers or with the tap of a screen–those characters and adventures will still be with me.