|PostScripts – Book Basket vs. Technology|
|Wednesday, March 28, 2012|
By MARGARET PARTEE
A couple of years ago I wrote a column about my “book basket,” a receptacle for unread books at my house. I like to keep it comfortably filled so I will always have a choice of something to read. This past fall I made a point not to purchase too many new and popular books as I sometimes get books for Christmas and my inventory became dangerously low. I did not get a single book!I took an inventory to see what I had so I could place an order. I had a list from book reviews and from best seller lists that appear in the paper as well as recommendations from friends and relatives.
I found a few old paperbacks that I had exchanged with my bridge playing friends. There are even a couple of orphans lingering in the bottom that I mentioned two years ago! Oh well. In October I attended the Southern Festival of Books and purchased four books that looked promising. Three of them I enjoyed, reviewed one, but the fourth features a book mark stuck about one third through. It was supposed to be Nashville ghost stories but failed to interest me.
One day at the grocery I bought a paperback copy of Jean M. Auel’s concluding book in the ice-age epic series Earth’s Children. The Land of the Painted Caves again features Ayla and Jondalar as they pursue inventive ways to lessen the difficulties of their daily lives. The early road to civilization so to speak – in 821 pages!
It would, I realize be much quicker, take less space, and eliminate the book basket if I would just accept and embrace the Kindle or Nook or whatever. For the sake of brevity here it will be called a Kindle. Once, I heard someone extolling the benefits of and her love for her Kindle. She went on and on about the benefits and cost and such. She could have kept on forever as far as I was concerned and I would not have been enticed in the least.
So call me old fashioned. I have been forced to embrace the computer, the Internet, cell phones and cable television. But the sad truth is that I am at the absolute peak of my comprehensive abilities in dealing with these things. Actually, they are pretty much compulsory if you live in today’s world. I remember the dawn of the computer age. I worked for a law firm as a paralegal and had my own secretary to type up letters, etc. Then the computer appeared. Within a year we ALL had computers and I was responsible for my own work. Forced to learn computer stuff.
Cell phones were next. I was sort of glad for that in a way. I was driving alone to my job in Nashville each day and bought one right away to keep in my car for emergencies. That made me feel safer but it rarely came out of my car. Although I have a slightly updated version since those days, it still rarely leaves my car. I’ll be one of the last folks left with a land line, I suppose. Then I succumbed to satellite television and a drawer full of remotes that I have limited knowledge of how to use. I can punch everything on them and it still won’t accomplish the desired task! All you really need is play and off. Right?
I have little comprehension about the things that people carry in their hands these days, looking down at them and rapidly moving their fingers over them. WHAT in the world is down there that is so riveting? And what is an app? At a play at TPAC recently, before it started and again about 10 seconds into intermission I could look down from the Grand Tier and see little lighted screens everywhere. Would their hearts stop beating if they had to give them up at the door? I wonder. We are talking adults here.
So the Kindle and I will not be getting acquainted as long as books are still available in print. Books can be read. They can be stacked on shelves. They can be shared with and mailed to others. You can hold them in your hands and turn the pages and feel the paper. You can turn down a corner. You can mark passages for later review. You can look at them in the store in order to make a decision on your purchase. You don’t have to charge them. You can keep them in your book basket! I like books.
I referred to the list on the sticky note at my desk and summoned up my best friend on the computer – Amazon.com! Purchased books by A. Scott Pearson, Holly Tucker, James Patterson, Tammy Hoag, Sandra Brown and Lee Child. If one of them is a particularly good read, I’ll let you know.