Sunday, November 16, 2014

A CHRISTMAS STACK OF GIFT CARDS

I have often written about my personal journey from being a book purist to a digital reader. 

A book stack has been part of every one of my Christmases since my Elementary school days. I eagerly await my stack of new books with a level of anticipation that rivals Cindy Loo Who's love of Christmas.

I love books. Their heft, that new book smell or the musky antique book odor and their appearance. How could I ever consciously chose digital book over a printed?

Technology is changing how we read. Fewer paper books are being sold ever year as we adapt to Kindles, Kobos and other reading digital readers. Newspapers and magazines that fail to develop a new digital model fold and bookstores are closing up continue as well.

Am I collector of books or a collector of knowledge? I would fancy myself as a bit of both. My fiction collection gets thinned out much more regularly than my non-fiction. Non-fiction is reserved for that moment when I can pull out a book to settle an argument, add a quote to a speech or clarify a topic for my own edification.

I do posses some rare books which in their time influenced events, politics, social change and behaviors. I marvel at the artistry, the fonts, the covers. holding them takes me back in time, as imagine what it must have been like in the period these texts were published to read it, let alone own it. Reading for knowledge , or entertainment was limited to a minority of the population. when I listen to the great composers of antiquity, I close my eyes and let my body and mind hear, touch, taste and feel the energy. Like these rare books, the complexity, integration of the art form could only be witnessed by a select few who could access it.

Why do I read? Surely for entertainment, for the love of the art of storytelling and most importantly for knowledge.

Not since Gutenberg unleashed the power of mass reproduction of the written word has knowledge been so widely available to so many. The digitization of popular literature from obscure texts to the monthly best sellers has changed not only what we read, but how we read.

This year my e-reading purchases have eclipsed my purchases of printed books. With the exception of a few books that were not available in a digital format, my reading has been exclusively digital. All of my magazine and newspaper subscriptions are digital.

I like having all of this knowledge so readily accessible.

I can share quotes and discuss books in real time. The Internet has truly created Marshall McLuhan's "global village".

My romanticism and attachment to hefty books is weaning. 

I think Christmas 2015 will feature a card stack instead of book stack.




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