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Books and How We Read Them

Books and How We Read Them

 

One excellent thing about retiring is that we can read books. We always read books, but now we can do it sometime other than when we brush our teeth or are on a long flight. 

But we interact with books differently.

Erica likes physical books. Holding the book, smelling print, turning the pages, and perhaps looking at illustrations--all are part of the magic for her. And when she is done she keeps the books. On shelves. In her home. Perhaps to read again, but really because she likes the look of books. She is a design maven and this is at least partly a design matter.

Karen does not. She prefers to have no books on shelves in her home. She does not especially like the way books look, en masse, especially as they age, and she will never read most of them again. She loves to read, though, and the invention of the Kindle thrilled her. She can walk around carrying hundreds of books in a sleek black square. She can read in the dark. She can buy a book as she waits for dinner to cook. Or in an airport, when she realizes she does not have enough for the trip. And she can get the newest title without leaving home on a rainy day.

Erica also listens to audible books. She drives a lot. Karen almost never does, as headphones on the subway strike her as unwise.

We both like print cookbooks. The best tell fascinating stories, have beautiful pictures, and simple directions. We them keep readily accessible, to consult and to read, over and over. We buy them as souvenirs of wonderful travels, or because we decide we really do want to learn to make rijstafel. But even cookbooks sometimes get weeded out. Like when our optimistic commitment to a new food culture does not last, or when space considerations cause us to conclude that the one containing 100 recipes for Bloody Marys, purchased after drinking several at a restaurant that made particularly good ones, was not really necessary.

We are delighted that books, in whatever form, seem to be "in" again. We are equally delighted that bookstores are seeing a renaissance, like the new Books Are Magic in Brooklyn. Even Amazon is going mixed-physical--with mixed reviews. Wonder what's next. Will VR and AR change the whole experience forever? We're not going to read ahead.

 

 

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