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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

In Praise of Books

At this time of almost New Year, I would like to comment on the new family kindle, nothing personal, it's a fun little gadget, but rather that steer me to the F.451 bookless world of the paperless future, it has made me want, even lust for, my books even more.

I know, this is a blog for living green, and so it remains. I urge everyone to do her part, to make what can be made, to recycle, to thrift shop, to compost and waste not, but I make the argument that books can be lent out again and again, hence the continued popularity of book shops, used book stores, paperback traders, libraries, etc. I also note that, horror of horrors, books can and are recyled at the ultimate end of their lives, and they can be composted, turned into craft materials, other books, paper, art objects, etc. The plasic kindle, alas, along with its droid, blackberry, computer, netbooks, ipad, iphone and assorted bretheren, will find their way into the landfill, where they do not break down, with all our precious personal information just waiting to be retreived from their abandoned little harddrives.

My books are beautiful, and well-loved, and well illustrated. They fill every nook and cranny that the dolls do not; they are my constant companions, along with their sibling magazines and journals. True, I go through and find new homes for some, usually to my students, sometimes to my local book keeper and paperback trader, a few to the Goodwill or to charity, but I never throw them out. I have saved mildewed books, burned books, chewed up books [compliments of my late, great dog, Smokey, who liked to teeth on hard bound vintage volumes], I've reconstructed books, and my oldest is a 1759 Bible. My oldest paper object is a page from a 17th c. King James Bible.

I love to hold them, to see them on my shelf, to annotate them, to look for the in book stores, to take them with to class to show. I can't get that satisfaction with my kindle.

Besides, it really wasn't my present; I was suckered in that way. It was meant to be for my husband, too, and our 12 year old comandeered it. I've had it five days, but today is the first time I could look at it.

I'm sure it will joint my walkman,watchman, lap top, casette recorder, dvd player, and stereo one day, in the appliance and gadget museum or graveyard. It should be in the Smithsonian one day, too, in the folly section, next to the pet rocks and fondue pots. Happy New Year.

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