Is there anything better than a good book? I don’t mean the electronic version you download on your Nook or Kindle with the Kate Spade cover you bought at Barnes and Nobles for $50. I’m talking about the faded letters of a worn hardback. I’m talking about the heavy weight of the hundreds of pages, bound up in your hands. I’m talking about the soft breeze of flipping through the pages, front to back, then back to front.
Call me old-fashioned, stubborn, naïve, whatever name fits but I will never buy a Kindle. In a post-recession America, I understand that it seems economically irresponsible to spend money on books when you can download them moderately discounted on the revolutionary notepad. However, what you give up for convenience and price just doesn’t seem worth it.
Don’t you remember reading as a kid, falling asleep with a book on your face? Don’t you remember that satisfactory feeling of turning the page and flipping to the end? Didn’t you always want to grow up with a huge library in your living room, with shelves stacked with books on top of books? When you ran out of space, you would line them against your wall, stacking them higher and higher on top of each other until it became a safety hazard.
While I appreciate the Kindle for its few advantages, I think it’s a sad reminder of the fast approaching technological revolution to which our society so readily succumbed. It’s just another example of the unimportance placed on the cultural and traditional parts of life, replacing it with something that’s faster and easier.
Whatever happened to spending Saturdays in used bookstores, digging for your favorite author? You can’t spend hours on a Kindle, surrounded by discounted first editions and worn copies with footnotes and underlined passages. You can’t write your name in the cover and hand it to a friend. You can’t leave a note in the binding when you return it to the library. You can’t highlight your favorite parts and make notes on the side.
Life moves fast and just because everyone seems to be gravitating towards a life of electronic screens and wireless connections doesn’t mean you have to leave everything behind. Save some of the past; keep the good things alive. Relish in the decadent and simple beauties man creates, rather than conceding to all the advances the masses say are better. The Kindle may be the future, but there are still a ton of things you can’t do with it…
You can't write your name in it, as if to mark it with pride as its original owner.
You can't leave it places for the next person who finds it to enjoy.
You can't add it to a bookshelf to expose its intriguing binding.
You can't pile it on top of others, showcasing your accomplishments as a reader.
You can't keep your coffee cups on it after you've long finished reading its pages over and over.
You can't find first editions to continue adding to your collection.
You can't leave notes in it for the next reader who picks it up.
You can't personalize it with your own thoughts on its words.
You can't look for your favorites in dusty, old used bookstores.
You can't establish a collection to admire as it grows.
You can't underline its passages, which you find connection to in every word.
You can't highlight your favorite lines to stumble upon effortlessly when you want to be reminded of their eloquence.
You can't smell its age between the pages.
You can't fall asleep with it on your face, drifting off into a dream from the imagery it instills.
You can't pass it down to your kids, gifting them with the most moving words of your own young adulthood.
You can't start a conversation when someone recognizes the cover.
You can't wrap it in paper and give it as a gift, to pass on the same lessons it impressed upon you.