books vs. nook

I had always said before that I would never give in to technology when it came to books. Books are the beginnings of my childhood. A plastic screen with lit up words is an act against all things literary. Never. No. Sorry, I’ll pass.

Until one of my roommates this past March so graciously gave me a Nook Color. Well, it was free. Why not? I’ll try it out.

And so far, I’ve considered this as a good and very, very bad thing.

Imagine your favorite thing in the entire world being accessible at the click of a button. Well, this is my case in point when I started using the Nook Color. An entire library with 100% availability without even changing out of my pjs or taking a shower to redeem? Oh yeah. This is bad. Crack addict bad.

It was ideal when I had Barnes and Noble gift cards to buy books so easily. And when those “disappeared,” in came my Visa. After reading one book, I’d click and click till I found the next fix that did me in. Ten dollars here, fifteen dollars there. Somehow I forgot the concept of a library. You know, the place where you can check out books for free.

So, I visited the library after my coma of nonsense and my wallet began to house cob webs and dust. Since the UCF library was closed in between the summer and fall semesters, I decided to head to a local library right around the corner. Upon entering the parking lot, I had to fight off (and I mean scratch-bite-throw-bows fight) political signs, solicitors, and a lovely citizen in an impressive mini-van cutting me off. As it just so happened it was early voting in Orange County aka PERFECT timing to make first impressions on the new member (me).

I walked in and it was cramped and small. Crowded and musty. Old school Dell computers were piled on top of rickety tables decorated with dust bunnies. The librarians were old and bitter and their selection of books were scarce.

I was home! This is the only library I’ve ever known. Bitchy librarians and questionable smells are the foundations of a library. I need no other!

This was the place I spent hours picking dozens of books at a time. Most of the visits I was told I had too many books and was forced to choose between them. It was like picking which children I could take with me off a sinking Titanic. I kissed them, whispered my promises of coming back for them next trip, and handed them back to an impatient, towering spectacled figure.

I now am reading The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers and I don’t know what I am enjoying more: the beautiful prose writing she encompasses or the reminiscent library musty smell of the novel, the tattered ends of the pages, the way they bend and flip so easily, or the old appointment schedule card left by the previous reader on page 156.

There may be convenience in having your favorite thing at the click of a button. But there’s beauty in having your favorite pastime at the tips of your fingers.

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3 thoughts on “books vs. nook

  1. Becky,

    It’s weird at first but then I went crazy on how easy the access is. It was a guilty pleasure, that’s for sure. But it feels good to be back with books πŸ™‚ I think I’ll stay in my safe zone and go back to tradition.

    Your fellow book lover,

    Colleen

  2. First note: “decorated with dust bunnies” – brilliant metaphor
    Second: “It was like picking which children I could take with me off a sinking Titanic. I kissed them, whispered my promises of coming back for them next trip, and handed them back to an impatient, towering spectacled figure” – me in a nutshell at any store that sells books – even wet pages tell a story beyond the printed text, it leaves a magnificent texture amongst the rippled seas of curiosity

    Libraries: books that are falling apart, dell computers that don’t work no one has thought to recycle the parts or donate them for a better cause…I love this post.
    I am a huge advocate for books as well. the physical is much more realistic and hands on than the technological (and thats coming from a girl who finally gave into making a blog!)
    My mom told me a few months ago that when i was a little, i had read over 1,000 children’s books in one summer.
    And now (in the 2000s)…when you go to barnes and noble, all you see is children’s TOYS. all the books are discounted. Literally…all the books are on sale. So…how does one make sense of the fact that most the recent films and productions being released in the entertainment industry are adapted books? it boggles my mind. the originals are always better, and by originals, that usually refers to the real, paperback or hardcover, deal!

    Do they even teach children how to access library catalogs anymore?
    What happens when systems are overloaded and researchers are unable to access the information they need because they did not learn the roots and history of cataloging? what about the beauty in the art of binding a book?

    Please, let’s discuss the smell of a library – when you know you’re surrounded by plethoras of novels, exciting adventures and beautiful literature the moment you see the colorful spines and encoded databases (more like an ancient script to new generations). Some traditions and memories just never fade, huh?

    PS – if you need a quiet place on campus while you’re still there – check out the CMC [curriculum materials center] in the education complex (where einstein bagels is) – hidden gem in a cedar cell

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