The ebook revolution is slowly catching on. They are in coffee shops, on park benches, in campgrounds, everywhere.
Hard core book lovers hold out, swearing by the tactile pleasures of paper and ink. There’s nothing like the fine aroma of a book when you crack it open and go diving in face first. Perhaps the designers at Apple should come up with a cover that gives off such an alluring scent. Remember, you read that here first!
Then there’s the warm inviting look a richly stocked book shelf gives to a room. And what about the sense of pregnant anticipation when you’re at loose ends as to what to read and you leisurely scan shelf after shelf? Can searching through iBooks or Amazon compare?
One of the chiefest joys of reading, bordering on the realm of synchronicity and magic, is stumbling upon the very book you were looking for–the very book your soul was crying out for–by accident or sheer dumb luck. Like wandering the library stacks lost, literarily and metaphorically, only to have the one single unique book you were craving fall off a top shelf and knock you upside the bean.
But that is not part of my gripe with the advent of ebooks. For me, the availability of virtually unlimited classics and the amazing portability far outweigh any sensory or home furnishing feng-shui drawback that is put forward.
No, my complaint is baser than that. You see, I am an inveterate snooper. Whenever I see someone reading a book I do my darndest to discover what they are reading. On the sly, of course. I saunter slowly past, casting an indifferent eye their way. Sometimes I scratch an overpowering itch. Whatever it takes.
“Don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” we’ve all heard; but I would add: “but judge a person by the cover of the book they are reading!” Strictly in the soul’s signpost sense that is.
Are they young and reading Kerouac’s On The Road, ahh, for them the journey’s just begun. Dostoyevsky’s Crime And Punishment or Notes From The Underground? They are in their ‘dark night of the soul’ phase.
Is the author’s last name Patterson, Brown, Roberts or Grisham? Intriguing stuff, yes, one or two, but excuse me, I must be moving along.
How many chance encounters that would have happened, friendships that would have been born, will be aborted because of Ipads and Kobos, Readers, and Kindles?
Remember the movie After Hours? The entire concatenation of zany adventures never would have taken place if not for a chance encounter and a book, Henry Miller’s Tropic Of Cancer I believe.
The other day in the local Starbucks there was a man who looked to be in his late fifties mouthing words while studying a Bible. His hair was thinning and he wore a peppery mustache, blue shirt and black tie. It wouldn’t have been the same experience, I wouldn’t have felt so warmly about him, had he been intently absorbed in an electronic gizmo. A sense of community, however tenuous, was briefly kindled.
Hail the old fashion book, if only for us snoopers.