Old books, tattered, torn, full of ancient words written who knows how long ago. To some they may appear ugly, good for nothing but the trash heap. Really, look at them. They have seen better days, but they are a beautiful testimony to the power of the written word. They didn’t gain their present condition and status just sitting around on a shelf. These books were read. They were absorbed. And now they sit, a mute testimony to the power of the written word. Ancient words.
Books. I love books. There is just something about the smell of a book, the feel of the paper and the binding, the sound of the spine cracking the first time a new book is opened. Books are comfortable. Sometimes I just sit and look at my small library and remember the things I have read, the places I have been, the history I have felt, the people I have met. Books. I love ’em.
I have to admit, I am a little bothered that so many people seem to have forsaken books. They read online, staring blankly at a computer screen, hoping the battery last to the end of the chapter. Reading online is not easy for me. Distractions come too easily, my eyes wander, and I never really read, but skim. Studies show that is how people “read” online; skimming to find the next interesting tidbit, never really absorbing the detail the author so painstakingly provided to set the scene and give meaning and context to the story. One of the first things I was taught in my Web design classes; people don’t read online, they skim.
Properly done, a book is not simply read, it is absorbed. Well, it should be. Often, I will sit with a book, absorbing the richness of the text, then close my eyes and reflect on what I have read. The words will come alive in my mind’s eye, and I will become part of the scene. Quiet times with my books. That is what reading is about. And yes, I am a slow reader.
Don’t get me wrong. Everyone has their way of reading, and some do quite well with e-books. And it isn’t that I don’t ever read online. I simply prefer books, and pray they never go away.