Sometimes our greatest love just changes…

19 Mar

Books have been a constant in my life since I learned how to read.  Books instead of boys populate my bed and it’s been this way for years.  Once I even had a boyfriend grab a book from my hands and violently throw it across the room screaming, “You love this more than you love me.”  I wanted to say that a book would never yell at me but that would’ve just proved him right.  Obviously, that relationship didn’t work out.

Books have sat by my side, transporting me into other worlds, often providing me a much-needed escape.  They’ve traveled with me, expanded my knowledge and set my imagination on fire.  Every story that I’ve absorbed has shaped my identity and I wouldn’t be me without all I’ve read.

So when the Kindle arrived I was not at all pleased.  It made me feel like nothing was sacred, not even literature.  That the world was moving forward into a realm where I didn’t want to go; into a place where the book had no place: a place of screens and plugs; a place without pages to turn.

I was right to think this.  Book sales are dwindling, book stores are closing and YouTube videos of children trying to push the images of magazines expecting a change are now entertainment.  The book, as we know it, is leaving this earth and what it will look like and mean is something that no one can truly predict, though Publishing companies are desperately trying.

I thought this day would never come.  When I would sit here and say with complete confidence that I think traditional paper books will become artifacts and at-home libraries will become decorations, but I believe that day is coming.  I do not want my love to leave, to grow and change when I just want to sit with it under a tree but those days will soon be gone.

One day I will cave.  I will buy an ereader, and I will meet my love on its terms, knowing that it’s not its first transition from clay tablet, to scroll, to paper and now screen.

Oh Czelaw, how wrong you were:

And Yet The Books by Czeslaw Milosz
And yet the books will be there on the shelves, separate beings,
That appeared once, still wet
As shining chestnuts under a tree in autumn,
And, touched, coddled, began to live
In spite of fires on the horizon, castles blown up,
Tribes on the march, planets in motion.
“We are, ” they said, even as their pages
Were being torn out, or a buzzing flame
Licked away their letters. So much more durable
Than we are, whose frail warmth
Cools down with memory, disperses, perishes.
I imagine the earth when I am no more:
Nothing happens, no loss, it’s still a strange pageant,
Women’s dresses, dewy lilacs, a song in the valley.
Yet the books will be there on the shelves, well born,
Derived from people, but also from radiance, heights.

4 Responses to “Sometimes our greatest love just changes…”

  1. Bookish Hobbit March 20, 2012 at 12:08 am #

    I do not think that books will go anywhere. As someone who owns an e-reader, I still reading way more physical books than digital ones. Not much has changed about my habits and it probably won’t until I get a bunch of the unread titles on my shelves finished. Seeing those new books I haven’t read act as more motivation than all the e-books I never see unless I fire up my little e-reading device.

    • thepanthalife March 20, 2012 at 12:48 am #

      Hey – I can tell you love to read like me, though ‘Bookish Hobbit’ is already a giveaway. I agree that books won’t go away completely, but I think actually physical books will become more of a special edition, collector’s item kind of a thing. I’m not thinking of people like you and me but the generation that’s just entering this world and after – though lets hope I’m wrong.

  2. barbara March 20, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    i feel exactly the same way

  3. Maynard g Krebbs March 20, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    I see you now understant what it’s like to go to slle at the age of 20 and wake up at the age of 60.

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