Discovering the Relevance of Words
Maybe I’m wrong (and I hope that I am), but at 31-years-old, I feel as if my generation is the last one to truly appreciate walking through a used bookstore, breathing in the history of the pages, and fingering the first few pages to see if it’s one of the several that will wind up at the checkout counter that day.
I had two obsessions – well, three if you count girls – as a teenager: books, and CDs. A lot of my first dates were spent at Powell’s Books in Portland. I figured if a girl was as interested in books as I was, or if at least she was willing to truly look through the shelves, and grab a couple that sparked her interest, she was definitely worth a second date. The excitement I got from watching a girl finger through the first few pages of a used book was tantamount to hitting a walk-off grand slam, in game seven of a world series. Unfortunately, watching someone tap on the screen of an electronic device to choose a book, or read a few pages, is like watching that girl choose an electronic device over me.
I had an iPad for a while, and I tried my best to justify reading books on that instead of simply carrying around a paperback copy of something, but it just didn’t feel right. I want to keep the two separate. There is absolutely nothing like reading through a true page-turner; the feeling you get when you’re so entranced by a book, that you grip the corner of the page, and turn as quickly as possible as to not lose momentum in your reading. It’s not the same when you have to make sure that you swipe at the right angle, and then, what happens if your electronic reader runs out of juice, or crashes for some reason. At worst, you rip the page of a book, and throw some scotch tape on it to keep going.
I don’t see a lot of my students racing to bookstores, and that upsets me. They don’t get it because either they don’t read unless it’s done inside the classroom, or they just don’t care. The few who are voracious readers, now have electronic readers, and buy their books from an online application. It’s just not the same, and I’m hoping that I am not one of the last of the Book Generation.