Friday 20 April 2012

How To Coast Through Life

I have to say that I love books! I like the feel of a book in my hand, the shallow “S” curves when it is lying on the table. I like the fact that I could make notations in the margins if there were something that I might need to find again. I never would make a notation in the margin of course because that would just be wrong.

I still have books that I studied in school, even though I never did learn to appreciate them. I have some books from my childhood, some of the actual books and some that I have since found and bought just because. I have books that my parents owned and some that my grandmother owned. I haven’t done more than flip through these, but those older books were made well and made to last. I have a family bible that has notations going back to the seventeen hundreds. I don’t think that it is that old, but it is twice as old as I am at least.

Books look good on shelves as well. You can tell a lot about someone from the contents of their library. When I was younger, I would read what I term to be “heavier” books, you know the kind that make you think about abstract concepts. Now, I like to read books that are “lighter” and much more entertaining. I guess you could call them fluff. I am certainly not as deep as I once was, but I am thicker. I will often just look through the books on my shelves and remember not only what they were about, but what I was about when I read them for the first time. I can remember I was reading Lord of The Rings at three in the morning when the heroes burst from Helm’s deep to make a valiant last stand, only to find that the Ents had shepherded the trees to get rid of the Orcs. I jumped up, pumped my fist in the air and cheered. It was quite moving really, and pissed my brother off.

I have a dream that someday I will own a used book/junk store where people will come and discuss books, drink tea and just have a safe warm place. There wouldn’t be any money in the venture, just happiness. I doubt that will ever happen, but the beauty of dreams is that the fulfilment of the dream can be the dream itself. The actual day to day running of a store would be far more headache than I could stand. I also have a dream that I will write a book someday. I know it won’t win any awards or probably ever be published, but it is something that has been demanding attention for years now. Maybe I am almost ready. Maybe…

Even though I love books, I think that books made of paper are dying. They are expensive to produce and not really very good for the environment. No… digital books, magazines and newspapers are the way of the future, and the future is now. I have two devices that are eReaders, a Kobo and the iPad. The Kobo is capable of holding 1000 books and with the addition of a SD card another four thousand. I don’t think the iPad will hold as many, but the reading experience is wonderful. Publishers are just beginning to find out what they can do with this new medium. Children’s books can have animation and music and books for adults can have video descriptions and even notes from the author. The possibilities are endless.

You can receive your daily newspaper online and the same goes for your favourite magazine. With the iPad, the colour is stunning and will only get better with time. The only problem is that there will be no more shelves lined with books and that wonderful smell of old paper will be gone. There will be no need for a brick and mortar library like we have now. You won’t be able to hold the actual book you had in school, you know the one. You dropped it on the floor so you could look at Cathy Arbours legs in grade nine math class. No? Well, I guess I am the only one.

Books will be around for the rest of my life, but it is a changing industry and I embrace that change. Hurricane and Tornado will be able to go through school just carrying their iPad or its equivalent. Maybe in the future, one of their treasured possessions will be an actual paper book called “The Letter Carriers Survival Guide” or “How To Coast Through Life” by Ken Harrison. Stranger things have happened…  

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