Monday, November 23, 2009

REAL Books

My readers do love their books.

Friday's post garnered more comments than anything the Burrow has seen in its lifetime. And what lovely comments they are. It seems that I am not the only library scofflaw here in the blogosphere, and that paying up is not a problem for either of us. I knew I liked you!

Loving real books has kept me from being an early Kindle adopter. The thought of having any book I want immediately available is nearly orgasmic..... but I won't really have the book then, will I? The real, palpable sensation of the paper between my fingers makes a difference to me. Dick Francis writes on bright white paper with a sharp edged easy to read font. Faye Kellerman has put Blindman's Bluff on a thick ecru with feathery edges that make me feel like I'm holding personalized stationary.

My Ulysses is printed on an almost slick off white surface that is absolutely perfect for writing notes -

and Ulysses, if it is nothing else, is a text which requires notes.



The Aubrey/Maturin series looks like the early 1800's it represents -the font is old fashioned and the pages are small and have an organic/not over-processed thickness.

G'ma and Daddooooo's oversized Merriam-Webster dictionary was my first exposure to onionskin pages. Without being told, I knew that I should be gentle and my hands should be dry and I should turn each page separately and carefully. I remember the shiny white background of the flags page, too, and I'm still flummoxed - how many books have different paper stocks within their bindings?


I suppose the World Book's human body overlays fit into that category.
I thought they were strange when I first saw them. Still do, actually.



My copy of Edith Hamilton's Plato looks like a prayer book both inside and out.

Which fits, if you think of Plato as the quintessential rabbi .... given that rabbi translates to teacher.




Our cousin (I claim her even though she's actually TBG's side of the family because she's one of the good cousins and I want my share!) The Diva understood my pain and reassured me that her Kindle is totally wonderful and encouraged me to buy one right away but even though I love her and she's a perfect parent (we agree on everything) and a great cousin for the Cuters I am just not convinced.

On general principles, I'm opposed to buying something that I cannot touch before purchasing. I want to go to a store and pick one up and sit in a variety of chairs and walk outside and see how it works in all the ways that I read a book and that just can't be done. I'm sorry. I am not cool enough to have a friend who is an early adopter. I have no one to show me hers and let me play for a while. I need a retail outlet. And though I love Amazon in so many ways and have for so many years I am peeved beyond belief that this technology is not more accessible to me.


I read reviews that talk about glare and font size and ease of use and I can't go any further. One of my favorite things about books is that they work without being plugged in. They don't make noise, they don't run out of power, they don't require another entity to connect with .... they're waiting there at any time of the day or night and as long as there is some illumniation you're good to go.


I know that books feel right in my hands and glare can be eliminated by turning my body around so the sun isn't in my eyes when I'm reading rather than by building a shelter for my electronic reader. Ease of use??? C'mon, people, you open the binding and there you are - reading. There's no waiting for the book to boot up onto the screen. The pleasure is there whenever you can take it.

Linda Fairstein's Lethal Legacy is set in the New York Public Library, and the collection is a major character. It was a wonderful counterpoint to be reading about Alex and Mercer and Mike in one of my favorite buildings, interrogating witnesses with lines like "Your library is your portrait..." while I was composing this love note to real books.

This is a topic to which much more attention will be given.

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