A good friend gifted me with a book last week. One with a binding, covers, and lots of pages in between. I haven’t read one of those for a while, and I’m looking forward to it.
I’ve had it for a year now, and I’m on my 18th book. I’ve never read 18 books in a year. They include biographies (Mickey Mantle, Ted Kennedy, George Steinbrenner), the Stieg Larsson “Girl” trilogy, a couple of Anthony Bourdain’s peculiar memoirs, and dashes of Hiaasen, Russo, and DeMille.
It’s not that reading ebooks is easier than reading a traditional volume. Really, reading is reading. What it’s about is convenience. The Kindle fits perfectly in a compartment on the little cooler I bring dinner to work in, so I read over dinner. And if I have a few minutes to kill waiting for an appointment, or in the car, I have the Kindle app on my smartphone. Knock off a half a chapter, then move on. It’s perfect for a portable life.
Right now, I’m reading Bill Bryson‘s At Home: A Short History of Private Life. I’ve enjoyed Bryson’s memoirs of growing up in the midwest and of his travels, but this is a different animal, in which he takes us through each room of his house in England, an old Victorian parsonage, and recounts the history behind each room.
It’s not the easiest read at times, and when I think he’s hopelessly bogged down in minutiae, he uncorks what I call a “fascinating fact” that keeps me going. This is from the chapter, “The Dining Room.”
One popular American guidebook, The Laws of Etiquette; or, Short Rules and Reflections for Conduct in Society, informed readers that they “may wipe their lips on the table cloth, but not blow their noses with it.”
The iPad was released not long after I got my Kindle, and my first reaction was, great, I just got this thing and it’s already obsolete. Happily, that has not turned out to be the case. Yet.
The pros and cons of the Kindle can be debated, but the value of local bookstores cannot. I still patronize them, and I don’t write this to patronize regular blog reader and commenter Wendy, who happens to own a bookstore called The Turning Page in Old Lyme. Or owned. (Wendy, I hope you didn’t fall victim to the technology. Please feel free to update us in a comment.)
Whatever you read and however you read it, thank you for reading this blog when you have a moment to spare. It’s much appreciated.
Besides, we’re all in this together.