my love affair with books

I love to read.  If left to my own devices I would spend all of my spare time curled up on the couch with a good book.  When I was on bed rest during my two pregnancies, I devoured 3-4 books per week.  One of the biggest losses that I have experienced since starting graduate school is the luxury of reading for pure pleasure.

Recently, Tom surprised me with an E Reader for my birthday. I have to say that I was not immediately taken with the gift.  Part of the pleasure for me of reading is the ritual of holding the book in my hand.  As I am reading I often refer to the inside cover or back of the book for prompts regarding characters or plot.  Seeing my progress in a book visually keeps me excited and often leads to late nights when I realize that I only have 1-2 chapters left. Despite the fact that  the E reader does not provide me the same tactile and visual experience of a book I have indeed caught the bug of this latest technological gadget.

I opened the gift the night before we were to leave for the lake.  This time frame did not allow for me to browse the E Books.com website and purchase any titles  prior to our departure, however, much to my surprise the E Reader had come with 100 classics already downloaded and ready to read.  On the drive up North I perused the offerings and quickly became engrossed in the novel The Secret Garden.

I quickly realized that each time I turned the E Reader on after a time away, it would magically open to the page that I had been on when I left.  I cannot count how many times I have misplaced my bookmark or had it fall out of the book itself. The E Reader renders the bookmark obsolete.  The biggest challenge for me in using my E Reader has been the concept of paying for books.

I typically acquire my reading material from the library, friends or family. I can count on two hands the number of books that I have purchased new.  The cost of books in electronic format vary widely.  I have purchased 4 books thus far ranging in price from $3.99 to $11.99.  Though reasonably priced, the costs could certainly add up if I continued to purchase at the rate that I like to read.  The ability to identify a book that I want to read and acquire it online within minutes could be my biggest downfall.  In addition to hurting me financially,  the E Reader has the potential to negatively impact the way in which people, especially women share books.

I lamented to my Kindle carrying sister last night that the popularity of electronic readers could damage the long-held tradition of book swapping.  As a means of reassurance my sister handed me the latest book that she had read in it’s lovely, worn, dogeared paper form.  As I hold the book in my hands I realize that my E Reader is no substitute for the real thing.

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One thought on “my love affair with books

  1. Worried that I would receive an E-Reader-type gift, I told family that wasn’t something I would like. My reason being is that if I don’t like a book within the 1st couple chapters, I don’t continue it. Not a bad habit when you’re a library patron. I would, however, appreciate the bookmarkless feature!!

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