One of These Things is Not Like the Others

EQ books & Nook

Hey, how did that Nook get in there?!

I admit it.  I even say it with some pride: I’m an old-school reader (and writer, too, but right now I’m just speaking as a reader).  I love the weight of the book in my hands and the feel of the paper as I turn the pages.  Some of my fellow book lovers say they love the smell of books, too, but I personally only hold that true of new books.  Old books, especially ones that haven’t been stored correctly, have always smelled musty and gross to me.  Oh, I’ll still read them, but I’m not going to plunge my nose between the pages and take a huge whiff like some of my fellow bibliophiles say they do.

One thing that’s become important to me in the past couple of years is donating my books after I’m finished.  When I was growing up, escaping to other worlds through books was vital to my existence.  I couldn’t always afford to buy my own books.  Libraries are wonderful, but not everybody has access to them.  Especially these days, as budget cuts begin to make them disappear.  It’s important to me to do my part to help reading be available to people who don’t have much money.

I also want to support brick-and-mortar bookstores.  Especially small businesses that are locally owned.

This being said…

Last November, Barnes & Noble had their basic Nook Simple Touch Reader on sale nearly half price for Black Friday.  Up to that point, I had thumbed my nose at e-readers.  However, as a writer, I’d been reluctantly tossing around the idea of looking into one.  I may be old school in my views, but the world of publishing is changing whether I like it or not.  So, impulsively, I ordered the Nook.

I feel guilty even saying this, but I fell in love with it immediately.

Reason #1 I love my Nook:  reading in bed.  Who among us has not fallen asleep in bed with the open book tumbled gently beside our snoring faces?  The e-reader is a lazy person’s dream.  I can lie on my side with the Nook propped up on the other pillow.  No need to hold it, or hold the pages down.  I don’t even need to turn the pages.  Just lift a finger and flick.

It also makes reading easier when I’m lying on the sofa.  I can rest my hand beside my face and prop the Nook against it.  That, however, poses its own problem.  When I fall asleep while reading (as I inevitably do), my hand relaxes and the Nook falls off the edge of the sofa.  After the first few such tumbles, I now place a pillow on the floor beside the sofa whenever I lie down to read there.

And when I’m at lunch at work, I don’t have to try to hold pages down.  Just rest the e-reader beside my sandwich and I’m golden.

Reason #2 I love my e-reader:  I’ve got around 30 books on it now, and can carry them all with me anywhere I go.  If I’m sitting around waiting for my car to be washed (I get unlimited free washes at the dealership where I bought my Honda) and the book I’m currently reading begins to bore or otherwise displease me, I can easily move on.

Still, I feel horribly guilty.  I’m trying to keep in mind that old childhood nursery rhyme:  “Make new friends but keep the old.  One is silver, the other gold.”

In the same vein, I’ve recently gotten out my old Nikon 35mm film camera.  Like a book, the weight of it feels wonderful in my hands.  So wonderful that I’ve decided to make it my primary camera again.  It’s like seeing an old friend again after a long time and picking up right where you left off.

I like my new silver friends, the digital camera and the e-reader.  But my old friends, the analog Nikon and the paper-and-ink books – those are gold.