Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Book Case

In the immortal words of Kip, Napoleon Dynamite's brother, "You know I love technology". Without it I could not be writing to you right now. But I think sometimes we get so excited about technology and its convenience that we forget how special it was sometimes just to wait for something.

For example: waiting for that one night in December when Charlie Brown's Christmas Special would be on TV, and we'd all gather around the set to see it that ONE TIME. If you missed it, you'd have to wait a whole year! That's what made it so special! Ditto for that yearly showing of "The Wizard of Oz."
Or waiting the half hour for my Swanson TV dinner to be ready to eat. Yum. The anticipation was half of what made it so delicious when it finally came out. You just can't microwave fried chicken and mashed potatoes properly.

But there are other technological "advances" that I'm cautious about. The privacy issue, for one. When I was a teen, there were many times I just wanted to be alone. Today's kids are NEVER alone...someone always has access to them through their cell phone or computer. They never have the excuse that "My father was waiting for a call so I couldn't use the phone, that's why I didn't call you last night." It seems sometimes they don't even know what privacy IS. But lately I have noticed my daughter turning off her phone more often...maybe the need for solace has finally appeared.

There's one technological development that we have so far resisted in the Pancoast family: The Kindle or other e-book reader. I know, I can carry around a million books in your purse and take it to the pool or beach or blah blah blah. Well, guess what? I carry around a paperback in my purse, and when I finish it, I replace it with another. I keep a book or two of short stories in the car at all times, too. If I had a million books in my e-reader I may not ever finish any of them!

Also, I'm really attached to my book cases. I still remember the year my brother and I both got book cases for our rooms for Christmas. It was one of my favorite gifts ever. I used to love rearranging my books in that bookcase.
The first pieces of real furniture my husband and I purchased after getting married were a big bookcase and a smaller one from This End Up. You could take away my sofa, coffee table, even my bed...but I'm never giving up those book cases. I like looking at them and seeing the books I've read, some I've had since childhood.....the ones that are too dear to me to give to the annual library book sale. There are a milion happy memories of the places I've been and the stories I've been part of while reading those addition to the memories of where I was in my life when I read them.
When I broke my ankle and was housebound a couple of years ago I went kind of crazy rearranging those books over and over. And I re-read more than a few of them. If I'd gotten all of those books on an e-reader, all of that fun would be gone.

I've already lost the joy of reading the liner notes and staring at the artwork on album covers. It doesn't help that I can barely read the small print on a CD insert...since beginning to download music we don't even get that anymore. (in fact, I've been wondering why I'm spending so much time designing my new CD cover when most people who buy it will probably get it by downloading!)

I can't bear the thought of losing my books, too.

So keep your e-reader; I'll keep my Mystery Guild membership, thank you very much!

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