03-25-2013   Leave a comment

Probably my favorite pass time is reading.  If I have a free moment I almost always have a book with me or nearby to pick up and read. It’s been this way since I was ten years old when as I was walking home from school one afternoon and saw a box of books sitting at the end of a neighbors driveway for trash pickup.  I stopped for a few minutes and began looking through them. Up until that time I’d been reading the occasional Edgar Rice Burroughs paperback of which there were many.  They were a quick and easy read for a young kid and I really enjoyed them.  I can’t even guess how much of my meager allowance went towards those books.

As I continued to scrounge through the box I found one that caught my eye.  It was an old copy of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne.  I stuck the book into my bag, took it home, and relished every word in it.  I sailed around the world with Captain Nemo on the Nautilus and deep sea dived in every ocean with his crew.  I kept that book for many years but unfortunately while I was away serving my country it was discarded by my mother with most of my other books.

I’m reading more now than ever before but things are changing dramatically.  With the advent of the Kindles and Nooks and the thousands of available ebooks it’s hard to  keep up at times.  As much as I love my Kindle, Nook, and IPad I can’t completely switch over from reading real actual books.  I’ve really tried hard to make the change completely to digital  but it’s seems impossible for me.  When I read to relax the process of reading an actual book gives me great comfort.

I’ve always given my business to those small discount book stores that can be found if you really want to search them out.  Every three or four weeks I visit a small one near my home to bring back books, get a credit, and buy another bag full. After my visit last week I find myself feeling very sorry for the proprietor.   We’ve become friends over the years through our mutual love of books. He’s a former reference book author with many titles to his name and has settled in for the last few years of his working life to run his bookstore. He fears that the digital revolution in reading will eventually put him out of business and has resigned himself to that fact.  He’d planned to run his store after retirement but that no longer seems a valid option.

I hope he’s wrong but that’s just nostalgia talking.  I can’t imagine sitting with a young child on my knee and reading to him or her from a Kindle.  The act of touching a book, turning the pages, and introducing a young child to millions of new experiences is the ultimate gift and I look forward to doing just that for my better-half’s  new grand child.  My better-half while not much of a reader has kept every children’s book she ever purchased for her kids who are all grown and gone.  She understands the importance of those precious moments she shared with each of them as she read to them.  We have a huge library of children’s books which have been stored for many years in the attic in anticipation of the expected grand children. They were unpacked and dusted off soon after her daughter announced her pregnancy last year.

I hope that books survive these modern day changes and in all honesty I’m not sure they will.  Maybe it’s just me refusing to accept change. The best thing I can do is to pass my love of books and reading on to the new generations and hope they do the same with their children and grand children. If that happens then books will continue to survive and be enjoyed by many more generations of readers.

We can only hope!

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