Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Paper Versus Ether

I have to admit that I was going to write you a nice story about fishing with my grandpa. Actually, I wrote it already, but it sits quietly in my notebook, just waiting to be released. Another time, perhaps.

You see, when I sat down at the computer, I started to wonder what I'd do if I ran out of books to read on the airplane on Friday when Nick and I go visiting. Ha! Now that I have my trusty Nook, I can have six or seven books to choose from without hauling an eighteen wheeler of a suitcase onto the plane as carry-on baggage. There will be more room in my backpack for food.

There's an added bonus to an ereader. No one can see the cover of what I'm reading. I like that, though I'm seldom reading anything beyond reproach. Really, I drew the line at taking a romance novel into the elementary school to show to my reading buddy. In general, I thought it was good to show them what I was reading, but I didn't figure that any second grader should have endure the cover of a romance novel. I remember when my grandma started giving me books she had liked. It was agonizing knowing that she'd read a particularly juicy part. Grandma, ew!

So, I downloaded about six books from the library. I doubt I can read them all before they expire, but I want to have a good selection while I sit. I picked out two in Spanish! I figure I can use my iPhone to look up words I don't know. I was bummed to see that the Nook dictionary didn't cover that. I'm just getting good enough with Spanish that I can read a paragraph fairly quickly and almost get the gist of what's going on. Almost. Okay, well, I'd like to think I'm getting the correct gist. Who will know if I don't, right? I could have a whole parallel universe going as I read what I think is the real story in Spanish. Now, if I were really organized, I'd download the English version and flip back and forth between them. I may learn real Spanish yet. I'm generally not all that interested in saying, "Estudiantes, vamos a la libreria para estudiar!" That's about as good as it gets for me, though I have a dual language copy of Pablo Neruda that I like quite a bit. I'm not sure much vocabulary has really sunk in, though.

I also downloaded a couple of books for Nick. Who knows? He might get bored enough on the plane to steal my Nook for a bit. I'd better bring one paperback, just in case. I admit that letting go of paper is a bit difficult for me. I like paper. Thus, my late start with an actual ereader.

I keep wondering what to do with all these books lying around my house. Will they become collector's items like records and eight track tapes? I like the smell of books. I like the feel of the paper when a book is well designed. I like to wonder why they put in eight extra pages at the back. Are those pages for my notes about how the book went, for my alternate ending, the one I wanted so much more than what I was given?

I have some of my dad's books. I wish there were more words written into them. The titles definitely described something about the man. 'The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich' and 'The Blaster's Handbook' come to mind. Doesn't that tell you that the man wanted to understand history, that he might be willing to blow something up? A boring person would not own those books. Yet, I would give my eye teeth for his own words, his own impressions, written on those extra pages. Yes, I'll probably hang onto the books I have. I might even write in them.

The problem with my book choices is that primarily, the books I own are books I have on my bookshelf waiting, sometimes for years, for me to pick them up and read them. I generally don't read a book twice, so I gave away all but my favorites. I remember a man standing in my apartment in front of my book shelf back when I still lived in New Jersey. He was tut tutting about the smallness of it. He spoke to me as if I'd read everything on that shelf. He began to critique my reading history based on these books. Well, I told him quickly that the bookshelf didn't even begin to cover what I'd read. It was just a bunch of books waiting to be read. I should have shoved that man out my door and down the stairs to the landing below. What do I care about what books people have read? I like when I find out I can ask someone what they're reading and hear a different answer now and then, but I don't give a monkey's flying rat about how important these people are based on their reading selections. Life is too short, people.

Oh, I should have typed that story about fishing with my grandpa after all. I would have made it to bed earlier and you wouldn't be sitting here scratching your head, saying, "What the hell is she going on about now?"

Thank you for listening, jb

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