Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Paper or Plastic - Prologue


Photo by Ryan
My wife and I love to read and certainly love books but what I’ve learned from her is that the word book means something different to each of us.  To the lovely Rinni a book is something generally made of paper, a tangible object you can hold in your hand.  A book to me is less an object than what it represents, a story.  That is really only the first divergence in our mutual love of reading and books, but points to Rinni for using the English language to properly classify the word book.

We do agree that getting rid of books is one of the most emotionally painful tasks we’ve ever had to do.  Yes, the argument that they will go to a good home and all is great for the casual reader but hardbound or paperback, these darlings are precious to us.  In fact the separation anxiety after passing a few novels on to the used book store or school book drive completely dwarfs reality for weeks afterward.
Where we do not agree is my deviation from the actual book to the e-book.  Rinni is a traditionalist in the purest sense when it comes to her collection and I think she’s not entirely happy with my migration to digits.  
My unfaithfulness started on a previous deployment to Afghanistan.  I was sharing a very small space with one other person and had one very small shelf to hold all my books.  I was going through a good three novels per month, epics by Terry Goodkind, Katherine Kurtz, Robert Jordan…and on and on.  I was forking out postage to get them to my base and then having to pay again to ship them home.  Sure I could have given them over to someone else to read but remember my previous comments about separation anxiety?
It was about three or four months into the deployment when a coworker introduced me to Kindle.  Now there was something fresh and sleek.  It was slim in my hands and I could easily take her with me every time I traveled around the country.  But what caused me to stray was that inside this very petit plastic body were volumes of the greatest stories on earth.  I could literally access thousands of books from this one little device and it took no more space than a pad of paper.  I was in love.
This is by no means the whole story because Rinni’s made some solid arguments to attempt to pull me away from that little temptress and back to the straight and narrow – but it might be better if she explained her view of things in the next edition of Paper or Plastic - look for it here on Saturday.

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