I’m so excited. My mini-memoir, The Mouse Room, was published by SheBooks a few weeks ago. Yahoo! I’ve been working not this crazy story for decades- first as fiction, then as part of longer piece, then finally as this little 33-page memoir. I’m proud of it. I worked really hard at it and had some fabulous editing by the folks at SheBooks.
I’ve gotten wonderful responses so far. Some very cool Amazon reviews. But one of the things I was not expecting, was to hear several people say to me, “I’d love to read your book, but I don’t have an e-reader!”
Don’t have a Kindle or a Nook? No problem! There’s a free Kindle reading app, so you can read it on virtually anything with a screen. Your laptop. Your phone. Your iPad. Your smart television!
It takes a few seconds to download. Voila! Some people said, “Oh, cool! I didn’t know that! I’ll go do that right now!”
But some other people said, “I’m sorry. I’d love to read it. But I only read on paper.”
Wait. Really? But didn’t you just say this on email? Or in a text message? Or on Facebook?
You only read on paper?
I can understand this. I love paper books. In fact, I own thousands of them. THOUSANDS. I love the way that they look and feel and smell. I love being able to scribble in them. And turn down their little doggie ears. (another sacrilege to many, I’m sure)
On the other hand, I’ve had other people comment that they won’t buy or read a book if it’s NOT electronic, because too many trees have already been killed. And because books are too heavy and take up too much space and the bookshelves are already toppling over from the weight.
I was discussing this with another writer/reader yesterday. She said, and I think this pretty much sums it up for me,
“I love words. I just love words, in any form.”
That’s how I feel.
She went on. “What if Gutenberg said, Look at this amazing piece of writing I just produced on a printing press! Many people can read it at once!” And what if some people responded, warily, “No. I only read works that are written, by hand, in calligraphy. I only trust writing made by humans, not machines.” And what if the first calligraphers were told by suspicious naysayers, “I’ll only read it if it’s chiseled in a stone tablet. Or painted in animal blood on a cave wall.” Etcetera.
What’s this about? Is it fear of change? Dislike of technology? I can relate to this on many levels. I, who was once (long ago) so enchanted by the zippy magic of email, am now mounting a personal handwritten letter campaign so that I can again enjoy the thrill of finding a personal letter in my (actual, wooden) mailbox. (yes. if you write me a handwritten letter, I promise that I will write one back.) I am even taking a calligraphy class next month in order to bone up on my rusty Weaver Writing Style!
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Just because we take up reading e-books, which I am doing more and more of these days, (I looooove getting free samples on my iPad to see if I really want to invest the time and money in a book), it doesn’t mean abandoning books forever. I love being able to increase the font size in an e-book to assist my (cough) aging eyes. I love carrying a hundred books with me in my phone that I can read while waiting in pesky lines. My husband is fond of reading Gilead during half-time at Warriors games. (that’s my guy: preferring Marilynne Robinson over the Warrior Girls!) But I also love reading paper books and writing paper letters. And even making paper.
So what’s it for you? Would you never read an e-book? Never kill another tree for literature? Or do you just… love words?