I like the feel of books. Turning pages, reading literally from cover to cover, special bookmarks. These are as pleasurable to me as caressing the stem of a lead crystal wine glass or eating with delicate silverware. While crystal and silver are only the means to the end (great wine and a gourmet dish), they somehow add a special dimension to the journey.
Of course hardcover books are more special than trade copies, and paperback books are easy to give away, but books, all books, are special. They entertain me on rainy afternoons, provide answers when I am motivated to research, and distract me when I just don’t want to deal with matters at hand. I hold them; they embrace me.
Books are part of my culture. I was a good student because I liked reading books. It didn’t matter if it was chemistry or geography, though I must admit that novels, poems and plays suited me better. (It’s not that I come from a literary family. On the contrary. My father occasionally warned me that reading too much is how smart people become crazy. . .)
So, when e-books entered the market, I shunned them. I had long converted to .com versions of daily news, but let’s face it. Newspapers have too many ads and leave your fingerprints all over light switches. And besides, by the time I unfolded the newspaper, the news were updated online.
My turning point came at DFW airport. I was about to buy a mindless crime novel that I could read on an eight-hour flight to Hawaii. And I realized that I was about to spend money on a book that will either sit on a shelf forever, be donated to a worthy cause, or be given to a friend who will be encouraged to pass it on.
So a few months ago, I bought a Nook Color, Barnes and Noble’s e-reader. And it has hooked me. I get to download samples of books I might pick up to read as I’m browsing a book store. And I buy what I want to read in full. I get to highlight (something I would never do to a real book), bookmark and make notes.
Plus, and this is a big plus, it’s a poor man’s ipad. The Android application allows me to check email, get on the Internet, post on Facebook, and read whatever news website that catches my fancy. I get to watch You Tube videos and listen to NPR and Pandora.
I carry my Nook when I go out just in case I have time to read or surf the Net. Like my Blackberry and laptop, Nook is now part of my technology identity.