Twilight of the book.

February 8, 2015 § 4 Comments

Books and the small animals that guard them.

Books and the small animals that guard them.

I am going to miss the book.

That stodgy brick of wood pulp.

Obstinately linear and unsearchable.

Demanding time and effort.

The U-Store-It of human stories and ideas, taking up space on a shelf that exists only because the book exists.

I like the smell of a book.

The acidic tang of a cheap paperback.

The musty damp scent of a classic, as if the reader were opening a long-closed trunk.

Standing together on a shelf, books are a forest that invites you to wander in and get lost.

Although it is not a huge leap from page to screen, every aspiring author I know wants to hold their book in their hands, not scroll through it on a screen.

That is because a book is real.

Although words in ink don’t glimmer like words on a screen they are reliable, immutable, as stable as Stonehenge.

A book has weight and heft. Shove it in the back pocket of your jeans and you feel it–and perhaps strut a little for being the kind of person who has a book in their pocket.

A book has two covers; a door to walk in and a door that closes behind the reader when he walks out into the weaker daylight of ordinary life.

When reading on the internet, the doors have been lifted off their hinges and the reader wanders, gathering from many places, that armload coming with the implied instructions, “some assembly required.”

Like a collage artist, the assembler becomes the author of a new thing. This amalgam, a synthesis of many disparate ideas, is often not a bad creation, it is just not a book.

With a book the reader sits down with one person and hears them out. it matters not if that speaker is long dead.

What the author knew and thought and felt remains, pressed between covers like the corsage you wore to the prom, only with the color and scent preserved, along with the thrill of being held close and long in someone’s arms.

That’s a book.

Note: Click the photo up big and you will see books by friends and books by authors I admire, and family photos and all kinds of small, startled-looking animals.

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§ 4 Responses to Twilight of the book.

  • craig reeder says:

    wish I could append a picture of one or more of the books I treasure, the Bhagavad Gita transcribed by Yoganandya, “Zen Flesh, Zen Bones” from my college days, “Elephant Bangs Train”, short stories by my favorite author William Kotzwinkle, and Summer on the Moon, a wonderful book for which I co-wrote a dynamite song, if I say so myself.


  • craig reeder says:

    apologies to Yogananda, whose name I precipitously mis-spelled above.


  • ammaponders says:

    So true, so true.


  • KM Huber says:

    I must say that it is easier for me to read from my Kindle–adjustable font–but I do not like the constant screen changing. For me, it does translate as page turning. I find that I listen to certain books on CD–usually genre fiction–but I read nonfiction and most literary fiction as a book. Yeah, that does not leave a lot of reading for the Kindle, and mine is one of the originals…still works!


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