I spend all day long typing away on my laptop. It is a nice shiny new MacBook Pro and I love it, but after several hours spent together, enough is enough.
As a lifelong reader turned writer (of books and various other nonfiction-related things), the last thing I want to do when my work day ends is to unwind with a cuddly….e-book.
Now, I will admit I don’t have an e-reader – one of those gadgets especially designed to look and feel and act and react as much like a “real” book as possible. So when I am reading e-books, I am reading them on the aforementioned MacBook Pro.
It has occurred to me that if I did have an actual e-reader instead of only a phone or laptop to read e-books on, perhaps I wouldn’t feel quite so set in my paperback ways.
After all, e-readers offer plenty of advantages. For starters, there is no guilt due to absentmindedly dog-tagging pages, underlining/highlighting key passages (only to suddenly remember the paperback in question is a family member’s prized first edition), sitting it down on the table next to your eager paper-loving parrot, who proceeds to “customize” it to be more to his liking….
You also don’t have to pay library fines when you forget to return it. No one gets irked when you treat that loaned copy as if it was your very own…for years at a time. And if you lose it, you just replace the e-reader and get the book again for free.
Most importantly, another tree (or whole forest depending on who the author is) gets to keep its life.
Yet none of these undeniable perks makes me feel any better about the inevitable evolution of the written word. In a nutshell, I want all the trees and all the paperbacks too.
And if I were to finally get with the times and start using an e-reader already, I would definitely want a waiver of certain inevitable restrictions that seem to accompany any device that has an “on” button.
Air travel is a perfect example. There is a reason I bring books, and plenty of ’em, when I fly. For example, there are the two tiny metal wings, that reality show about why planes crash, the “wind shear factor” – whatever that is, the fact that I didn’t pay attention to the flight attendant’s important safety presentation yet again…..
For all these reasons and more, I would like to begin reading my escapist literature just as soon as I get myself securely strapped into the child-sized seat that passes for coach these days. But no. I have to wait until we have trundled awkwardly down the runway, hurled ourselves into the stratosphere, encountered “some turbulence” (which on a scale of 1 to 10 feels like about a 100 as usual) and entered whatever level of airspace the captain deems suitable for restroom breaks and reality breaks.
But most of all, I want something to read that doesn’t light up and glare back at me as I’m turn its “pages.” With the built-in running page counts and progress-to-completion bar, the whole experience of reading an e-book feels more like a sweaty, dehydrating sprint than a leisurely stroll through a cool, refreshing forest (even if I know all the gorgeous green trees around me are already scheduled to be shredded into sawdust to produce zillions of paperback copies of John Grisham’s newest blockbuster best-seller).
So I am going to tackle this. Soon. Someday. It’s on the list.
Today’s Takeaway: There is a lot to love about e-readers, regardless of size or weight or screen brightness. Did you take to them immediately? Or, like me, are you still struggling?