When I was a little girl, I went to the library weekly to get my favorite titles like The Black Stallion or Misty of Chincoteague. No matter how many times I read them, I never tired of them. Later, in my school, they offered the opportunity to order books for sale from Scholastic Book Services. My classmates would order a book or two. I had my own box. I read voraciously and Mom supported me with gusto, indulging my need to explore the world through the pages of children’s paperbacks. As an adult, I traded libraries for bookstores. I know, libraries are special places and who wouldn’t want to read a book for free? Me. I could never get my books back in time and I never could handle the due date deadline. I wanted my books available to me whenever I wanted them, and if I used a highlighter or bent a page, it was mine to do so without repercussions.
I would spend hours in the local bookstore, perusing the hundreds of titles just crying out to come home with me. There were infinite possibilities in that store. So many things to learn. My interests were varied, non-fiction all. I couldn’t read fiction due to a cognitive problem I had from a car accident. I just couldn’t keep the story line straight, and I would forget what I had read by the bottom of the page. Most non-fiction didn’t pose the same challenges. My apartment was small and shelf-space was limited so while I was attached to my beloved books every couple of years as my interests changed, I would cull the shelves, relegating my cherished books to the donation box. Their departure quickly replaced with new titles in bright and shiny covers. And so it went in my house, books coming and going, ebbing and flowing like a tide of words.
Then one day a new invention hit the marketplace. A Kindle. I scoffed its arrival saying confidently that nothing could replace the magic of a book. The feel of it, the tactile act of turning a page. Ludicrous invention, it’ll never last, going the way of all hyped up cultural phenomina. I went back to my shelves and said it’ll never be in this house. Then one day I was in Target and I happened upon the Kindles. They looked intriguing in person, and didn’t that screen look just like a page from a book. And feel how light they are. And you can download thousands of books. You can take them everywhere you go. Damn if I didn’t cross over to the dark side and buy one.
It was as though a light switch had been turned on. Prior to the Kindle, I had discovered I could read fiction again. Whatever cognitive problem I had was “fixed”. So, I found myself spending hours perusing Amazon’s endless offerings. The library and bookstore were officially replaced in my world. There was nothing they didn’t have. And then I found an even better feature…free books. Well, I was off and running. It’s been less than a year and I’ve read 71 books, with about 300 in the Kindle awaiting my attention. And I have an even wider scope of interests now. The Kindle goes everywhere with me and I am constantly reading. Turning the page replaced by clicking. I am part of the electronic revolution.