I’ve been thinking about books today. It started last night when I had dinner with my friend and we got on the subject of the Internet and publishing.
We were discussing this nascent computer age that’s making our collective head explode at an ever-increasing speed and how eventually books will be of a bygone era. I told her I felt that even self-publishing seemed antiquated. (Like money. Does anyone carry cash anymore? I’m at a loss at valets.) It pains me to say it, but I think books are seeing their last days—and this coming from a true bibliophile.
My happy place is a bookstore. Leave me alone in there for days and I’ll walk out satiated and overloaded. I have more books than clothes. I don’t shop at online clothing stores. I shop at Amazon. I anxiously awaited the mailman to deliver the latest orders.
Books are my best friend. Nothing has accompanied me through all the various stages and moves of my life like my books. I like the way books smell. And feel. I find myself daydreaming as I read a book, thinking about my book soul mate who held the very same pages before me. Open any book on my shelf and I’ve written all over it and through it. I’ve argued with books. I’ve cherished books. I’ve hated books. I’ve cried over books. I’ve thrown them across the room. And I’ve laughed. Most importantly, I’ve learned. I love books.
After all, the true gift of a book is the journey. The way I see it, a book is ultimately the joining of minds–reader and author–cutting through time and space. As Schopenhauer said, “Reading is equivalent to thinking with someone else’s head instead of with one’s own.”
We don’t miss listening to music on a phonograph, because we never used them. The only people that might miss phonographs are senior citizens. We may be nostalgic for the sound of a record, but most of us wouldn’t trade the ability to download a song for a record player. The generation being born today won’t miss books.
I write a lot, which keeps me off the streets and out of trouble. There is always something to write about, always a new story to craft. Not writing, for me, is like trying to hold back a sneeze. Learning to write was the most powerful influence in my life. I can still remember the awe I felt when I realized I could put real words onto paper and tell out a story. From that first ‘a-ha’ moment I knew I wanted to write.
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