Thursday, May 28, 2009

To Kindle or Not to Kindle

It all started at the firehall in Backus, Minnesota. The town library was in a room in the back. I remember it as tall dusty shelves crammed with books. I couldn't get enough of it. I began with Nancy Drew and read everything I could get my hands on. I was in love. I hated that I was confined to four a week when I could devour a book in a couple of hours. And fully comprehend it. Those were the days.

A couple of weekends ago, at a friends house in Denver, a new acquaintance had the latest techno-gizmo, a small laptop. The subject turned to the Kindle. We had a small "To Kindle or Not to Kindle" debate, of sorts. I love books. In my hands. I don't want to scroll, I want to turn the page. I love the weight, the feel, even the smell of books. It's not that I can't be distracted by shiny things. I can. But, it's back to that written word on paper that I can't live without.

It's been reported that the use of libraries has gone up markedly during these tough economic times. Maybe it's the freebies, maybe it's the longing for a past that may or may not have ever really happened. I think it's the books. They can be comforting. They can enlighten. They can work magic. They can even make you fall in love.

I worked in a small town library once upon a time, fell in love in the same library. He was tall, dark, and very handsome. He came in to read the paper, and when he went into the stacks, so did I. He was looking through the William Goldman section of fiction. I had my opening. I asked him if he liked WG. Turns out we had the same favorite book, "Boys and Girls Together. " He remembered the opening line, "Aaron would not come out." I remembered the closing, "Aaron entered into agony."

Profound change can take place in your life because of books. Have you heard the group, My Morning Jacket? Start with their song, "Librarian," and you'll know what I mean.

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