Christmas is only about 90 days away! I always have these great intentions of starting the buying early, so I don't have to roll pennies for gas money come December, but it often doesn't turn out that way. I have, however, begun making a list of gift ideas to try to get ahead of the game. For me, a book or two is definitely a part of my letter to Santa.
This year, I've been considering something new: an e-reader. I've hear from people who have these new fangled contraptions, and all are very happy with them, but I'm not totally convinced. I realize there are perks with the e-readers, such as quick access to books, as well as the ability to carry many reads with you at once. On slow shifts, having a variety of titles to choose from would be a bonus, since my reading mood is pretty touch and go. Not having to drag four books with me on a trip would be nice too. I've noticed that the screens make it look like you're reading off a real page, and there isn't the same eye fatigue as reading off a computer screen.
In fact, e-readers have done such a great job at duplicating the pages of the traditional book, that in this age of electronic everything it seems a no-brainer decision to buy one. But there are things an e-reader cannot provide that, for me, are a significant part of the reading experience.
Reading is definitely a sensual experience for me. Before you get creeped out, no, I'm not talking THAT kind of sensual! I mean the five senses (or perhaps four, I haven't started tasting my books). I really am into the aesthetics of my books. Cover choice can truly play into whether or not I pick up a book and flip through it. The plastic protective covers libraries apply to their books makes a certain sound that fills my mind with memories. I remember being a child and hearing that sound as the spine was cracked on books the librarian would read to us. There's also a feel to certain papers used for books, and the weight of the paper itself lends a different feel as you turn the pages. Some of you are now thinking I'm nuts, and should not blog on night shifts, but these things really do add to my reading experience.
Then there's the new book smell. I think we can all relate to this phenomenon, that perfume arising from the book whose spine you have freshly cracked. That sound and that smell MEAN something to my mind. They tell me that I'm embarking on a journey, an adventure, just me and this book. In that moment, no matter what the truth of the matter is, I am the FIRST person to read this story, the person discovering this place, this time, these people. And as I enter this sacred place of imagination and escape, I feel a sense of anticipation and possibility, seasoned with a touch of trepidation. After all, this author may disappoint my expectations. And it is all set in motion by the touch, the feel, the smell of the book.
So for now, no e-reader for me. Someday I may be seduced by their flashy claims, but for now this old fashioned gal will curl up with an inconvenient book, and let her senses take her to another place.