A darling friend of mine, Sarah H,, once complained that her books and magazines seemed to multiply like cockroaches, arranging themselves in piles wherever she sat. As I look around my desk, I see I’ve got the same problem. Not bugs, but books. Nearly every room of my house has tall bookcases, crammed full of books. The rooms that don’t, have tables or desks, where the books seem to grow taller overnight.
I thought ebooks were the solution. No printed pages, no clutter. My sister told me to throw out my old books (sacrilege to any true believer in the magic of books), because I would never read them again. I’m afraid she may be right. I have a lot of novels, paperbacks, anthologies of author’s works, etc. which gave me great pleasure to read the first time. But I need a pair of reading glasses now, and my eyes grow tired, and the light all seems a lot dimmer than when I read them the first time. As for the shelves full of reference books, that I used to diligently read and search for just the right fact, well I haven’t opened one in several years, not even my giant dictionaries. I look it up online.
I have the Kindle app on my little Nexus tablet, something I swore I would never use. I nearly had a heart-attack when I went to look for a book I wanted to read, one I knew I downloaded last year. Kindle only showed 270 books. It had been at nearly 1000 by Christmas, one year after I received the thing as a present. What had happened to my precious books? Have you ever yelled at the kids or your husband for moving the book that you know was right there last night? Well, I almost sent an email to Amazon, ready to rant and holler. Then I remembered the title, did a search, and there were all 1270 titles.
This thin little gadget, with its glowing light that lets me read all night, gave me immediate access to anyone of them. No getting up, stubbing a toe, to go hunt that perfect novel that I’m in the mood to read tonight. There they all were, safe and sound. The problem with the device as far as I can see, is there is no way to sort your books. I have mine organized on the shelves, a case for fantasy, a section for mystery, all alphabetized mind you, downstairs and up. I know where my books are at all times. Not so on the wonderkin. I have to sit and flip and squint and flip until I see a cover and title that sounds like what I could read. But the lovely description of the story is missing, and not all the authors are familiar to me.
I think I have become a hoarder. Not of dusty old books, but inexpensive or free copies of interesting little ebooks. Will I live long enough to read all of them. Probably not. But at least on this slim device, few guess my secret. If they ever come to visit me, they know. I’m a book-aholic.