The library didn’t want it back

With some trepidation, I placed the book on the counter and explained how it came to be in this condition. Our kind local librarian said, “That’s OK, you keep it.” I think she just wanted it out of the library so she could wash the counter with boiling bleach.

There on page 123 was the evidence of my first bout of car sickness. I told my parents I wasn’t feeling well, but they refused to break up the family band for something as piddling as the stomach flu. One page and two blocks into the trip, I yarked on the book, my sister, and the back of the car seat. I haven’t been able to read in a car since, and the little church where we were playing got treated to one accordion, one banjo, one tambourine, and a really foul odor.

This little incident hasn’t dampened my love of books. I think us oldtimers are still sold on the kind of books that you can read in the bathtub without fear of electrocution. Problem is, you’ll need an oxygen tank and a sherpa to reach the top of my to-be-read pile.

Someday, I’d like to live in a house with a library: bookcases stacked to the ceiling, with a little slidy ladder. If you go to a used book store, you may find me in the stacks, huffing old book scent. It ranks somewhere between felt tip pens and fresh baked bread.

I was shocked to learn that my hometown newspaper, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer went out of “print” in 2009 in favor of electronic news. Damn tree huggers! Don’t you know that you’re trading convenience for trees? Those notebooks are not going to do you any good when you need to line your birdcage.

So how can a six inch screen compare to all that? For my birthday, I got a Nook. I’ve started building my electronic library, and to my surprise, I like it. My eyes no longer feel like they’ve been sandblasted, then squirted with lemon juice; I don’t have to wear the purple reading glasses (what was I thinking when I chose those frames?); and I look cool to all my techno friends who don’t realize that it’s the cheapest version they had. It still totally counts.

Best of all, I just discovered that Box of Rocks is now available for Nook at Barnes & Noble, so like a total dweeb, I immediately bought my own book to add to me eLibrary. (cheap plug)

So long as Ikea keeps producing cheap bookshelves, I don’t think we need to worry about the extinction of “real” books, but ebooks are definitely making a strong showing in the market. Too bad they don’t come with a slidy ladder.