Home for a week with a head cold, and a chance to dig into the pile of new books waiting to be read. Paperbacks and Kleenex, what a combination! Some of the new books waiting to be read are used ones, classics recommended by other readers. I’m not a slave to the book review columns, although I check the listings in The New Yorker and The Week. I’m a sucker for writers interviewed on Public Radio, tho. So easy to order books today from Amazon or Alibris, my favorite bookstores. New AND used both.
Somebody e-mailed me a “futurist” list, of things we won’t have much longer. (I like to play that game – what are you looking at today that you won’t need tomorrow? Such as your typewriter, your tape drive?). This particular list insists that printed books will soon disappear.
Really? I think that print is good for a long, long time. Not just because I’m an old timer, which I am. My western novels sell more paper than Kindle copies. Yes, my audience is older, too. I have a tablet and I've read e-books on it, not so much lately. E-books are useful because they are searchable. If you are looking for a particular Bible quotation, you’ll find it more readily by searching King James on your tablet. Otherwise, I’m more comfortable with paper than with electrons.,
My evidence for the persistence of paper? The number of new titles published continues to push 1,000 a day, and most of them are hard copy. Book reviews in my news magazines, and author interviews on radio and TV, show me that bound books are still popular. (Sadly, no book reviews in my local newspaper). Those promised electronic textbooks aren’t tearing up the college bookstores, either.
The thing is, and I do think this is true: We don’t read enough, most of us. Modern life runs at an accelerating pace, even for those of us in retirement. We fail to set aside time to sit and read. Turn off the TV, put a record on the turntable (!) and open a book.
Perhaps we should all get terrible head colds, from time to time.
October 16, 2014. (Happy Birthday, W. P.).
“If you don’t feel that you haven’t read enough, you haven’t read enough.” – Nassim Nicholas Taleb.