Obsolescense

Do you like to hold books?  To touch them?  To swap them?  As I have said before, I used to be an English teacher.  I eat with English teachers.  We all feel that way about books, and we are all mourning the closing of the local bookstore at the mall.

But maybe we just have to go with the times.

The head of the English department got a Kindle for Christmas, and she was showing it off at lunch today.  She has a leather case for it, so you can hold it like a book.  She passed it around, and we were all impressed.  Evidently you can’t download the pictures from books, although she does have a picture of Ernest Hemingway as a screen saver. It was easy to turn pages, and the pages looked like book pages, not all in Times New Roman as I had envisioned them.  The Kindle will even read to you with a synthesized voice.

I was sort of on board.  You can download old books for free, and any book, evidently, for $9.99.

And then…

One of the other teachers my age looked at the thirty-somethings and said, “Save your books, girls.  Otherwise your grandchildren won’t know what they look like.”

Really?  Is that the way we are going?

What about the pictures?

And what will happen if the Kindle (or the other electronic media that is supposed to house printed literature) crashes?

In the old days, people used to memorize to keep their important literature, but I think we can all agree that memorization, for the general public at least, is a lost art.

So if the system crashes, where will we, as a society, be?

I don’t know.  I’m just asking.

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4 Responses to “Obsolescense”


  1. 1 Ron January 6, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    Umm … I read between four and six books a month and the only paper books I read are the ones you buy for me.

    If the system crashes I am up the creek without a paddle, but I have a pretty good memory! 🙂

  2. 3 amy January 10, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    You know I’m not a big reader like you, and maybe it’s because we live in the state with the most population loss and highest unemployment rate, near the city with the most violent crimes in the country, or because we are blessed by a family that loves books, but books are still around here. My daughter is reading #5 in the Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and it is a book we did not have, so a friend of hers loaned it to her. Better than a library!


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