Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Don't make me the next VHS

Today on the train home I almost missed my stop. I was in India, following the tale of Shantaram, starting to understand all the clues he'd left in the first 600 pages or so. I was so involved that the people crushing me, the station announcements and any normal discomfort I might feel on my way home during rush hour vanished. Completely and utterly gone. I was so desperate to get back to India that I was tempted to try to read while maneuvering myself up the escalator and down the stairs to my next train platform where, part of me hoped the train would be there immediately so I get home quicker, and part of me hoped it wouldn't be so I could spend some more time with Linbaba and see how the tale ends...

...The reminder of how amazing books are at taking us out of our daily worlds came to as I read an article in the New York Times today about how the generation gap is occurring a lot more often than before, all due to technology. People in College are still used to sending email, having phone calls and knowing that you do have to wait sometimes for people to respond. People in high school have no concept of that and seem to text more than those in college, while those even younger are comfortable having just as much fun virtually as they would interacting with people face to face. Now some might see this as a wonderful feat, a testament to how far we have advanced where technology is concerned. No more considering if that long distance call is worth it to pay the extra money. No more using the cell phone ONLY in emergencies. It makes me remember hearing a scientist say that children born at the stage of the tech boom would probably evolve to have bigger and more dexterous thumbs because of all the texting! While I think advances in technology are great (as I am now, benefiting greatly by being able to put my thoughts out into cyberspace) I am worried that soon we will get so far ahead of ourselves that some of the most amazing pleasures will be lost.

This is where we come back to the book. I can't imagine a world without books. A world without the physical temple of a story. I can spend hours pursuing a bookstore and not have noticed a minute go by. I love going into the bookstore and just seeing what I feel. What jumps out at me and what book my hand lands on. It's a fun game to see what new author I will discover or a new passion reading about roman history or french cooking. I also love marking books. While some might see this as tantamount to sacrilegious I for one am all for it. It gives me a reference for moments when I need inspiration. It also serves as a little historical marker for me in a unique way. For some reason, when I was reading that passage on that particular day it spoke to me. Will it continue to do so in the years to come? So where does this leave us? I am all for technology, just don't make my books so obsolete that they become the next VHS!!

Happy reading

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