Friday, March 23, 2012

In Defense of the Traditional Book

I love to read. Love it. When I was young I would spend hours at our local library scouring the shelves looking for the "perfect" read. Of course, when I was young, the perfect read started out at Ramona Quimby books, and The Babysitters Club, and progressed into good old Sweet Valley High. 
 As I have gotten older, my tastes have changed. (Thank God). I can't imagine still reading Sweet Valley High. Elizabeth and Jessica don't cut it anymore. I loved what Oprah did for reading. I bought just about EVERY book in her book club from the beginning to her last recommendation. And she knew what she was doing. There were not many books in that club that I didn't love. But that no longer exists, so I have had to find new ways to find books I love. One way is to read every biography that Tara reads. That is all she reads. Biographies. I never, ever thought to read those. I am a fiction lover. So, when she leant me the Theo Fleury bio, I was hooked. She has been a great source of titles, and I have a few of hers still to get through! (Including the above, "Lies Chelsea Handler Told Me").
 I am also looking forward to reading new books by authors I have loved in the past. You might remember James Frey as the controversial author who wrote "A Million Little Pieces" and had Oprah in a tailspin. I have three of his books waiting for me to crack them open. I am most looking forward to reading "The Final Testament of the Holy Bible". I think it will be as controversial in reading as the media storm was around "A Million Little Pieces".
Finally, I look for the awards. I would always tell my students to look for a book with an award on the cover. That way they knew they were getting something worth reading. "We Need to Talk About Kevin" is an award winner. And it has been made in to a movie (which I know does not guarantee it is a good book, or a good movie, for that matter, but I am looking forward to reading this one.)

As for the traditional book... I love the feel of a book in my hands. I like books with uneven pages, with an interesting cover, (yes, I judge a book by its cover), I like the smell of paper. I love the sound a book makes when you open it for the first time. I like the idea of e-readers. They certainly are convenient. But I can also see that I would send my family into bankruptcy if I owned one. March is the first month in a very long while that I haven't bought a book. (And March isn't over. And I am planning on going to the city today... so we will see....) I have about 25 or 30 books on my bookshelf waiting for that first crack. If I owned an e-reader I know I would spend most of my days looking for books, and downloading them. So, I am going to stay the traditional route. I know that the world is changing, and I am powerless to slow the technology down. As long as paper books are available to me, that is how I will read. 

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