“Honey, could you please charge my book?”
I’m trying to imagine the face of Guttenberg or Tennessee Williams as I utter these words. I might as well be speaking gibberish. Things have certainly come a long way since the first printed book, even for me. While a couple of years ago I bought books by the dozen, I honestly cannot remember the last time I went into a bookshop let alone bought a volume for myself. A physical copy that is, because now I am a mass consumer of e-books.
Changing to an e-book reader was a necessity for me: I was struggling to read the small print and carrying the load on my 3 hour daily commute to work. I debated it, I fought against it, but at the end I gave in. And when I felt War and Peace suddenly weight close to nothing in my hand I knew I made the right decision.
A quite unexpected – let’s call it – side-effect of using an e-reader is that I am no longer limited to the books a publisher decides to translate to Hungarian. Or the stock of foreign books my local bookshop carries. I am able to open my little wings, look down from what feels like the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and jump into the vast expanse of choices. And I feel like the happiest little nutria swimming and twirling in the cleanest, freshest sweet watered river there is.
If there is one thing I miss though it’s a book’s physical presence. I miss holding it, feeling it in my hand, sensing its smell. That fresh off the press smell. I also miss looking back at the end of the year at what I have read, what things have made me contemplative, sad or even mad. The only thing that does give me a sense of my bookwormish appetite is how I
destroyed wore out my Kindle cover over the years.
With new technology come new forms of taking stock of what we do. Data is collected on how much we read, how, when and what we read. And while it is my belief that statistical information should always be taken with a grain of salt, this data somehow still means a lot to me. Looking at the list of books I read or the picture of their covers takes me back to the stories that have taken me on unexpected journeys in time, space and in my soul. I can trace a path to memories, thoughts and visions that are now weaving a new path of their own.
So I thought I’d share with you this very list. My aim is to spark your interest, to hold ajar a door that many times holds magic behind it. Come, peek inside!
These are the lists and covers of books that I have read in recent years.
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February 1, 2021 at 6:56 PM
Tbh, I started using a Kindle myself a while ago and, although I loved the idea that now I’m able to carry Alexandria around in the size of a booklet, I had to realize that it’s fine for certain types of readings but not for everything. Reading novels and more entertaining, less complicated stuff on Kindle is fine, however I have a hard time reading scholarly literature and non-fiction on it. I simply feel lost, not having the opportunity to browse through the pages easily and check back and forth, and it seems to me that my brain processes information differently if I read on a device. So I buy used books instead (of course, not everything is available). Have you exerienced this as well?
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February 1, 2021 at 10:23 PM
Yes, definitely! I absolutely get what you say. I find that reading pdfs, anything that has pictures, maps or footnotes is a nightmare. But, 95% of what I read is fiction where it works just great and the other 5% I push through. Primarily because I don’t have an altermative. But I do know we have somewhat different reading preferences Laika, and I see why this format is not an option for you. Or even if it were the academic title is just not available in digital format. Let’s see what future technology holds for us!