June 24, 2010


I read somewhere that while the number of book buyers has remained constant among Baby Boomers, the number among younger adults had dwindled, or should I say, ‘kindled’? Younger readers have taken to electronic books while those over 50 still like the feel of paper between their fingers. By age and by preference, I fall into the latter group. There’s something wonderfully inviting about the warmth of paper as I turn a page, sometimes slowly as if uncertain whether or not to linger; or sometimes with a breathless flurry as the plot propels me forward. The turning of a page is like background music for a movie.Done in haste or in leisure, it reflects the mood I’m in.

I never bend a corner of a page, by the way. That would be like trampling a flower. We call them leaves, after all, for they are as natural to us as their organic counterparts. They flutter in the wind beneath our fingers and with them we are carried to magic places.   

Robert Frost might have written:

                             Something there is that doesn’t love an electronic book, 

                            That wants it down

But I’ll not serve as Frost’s old-stone savage, armed. As long as there is choice, I am content. What matters is that art survives whatever form it takes. Habit leads me to prefer my paper books. But some nights, when I’m reading in my bed beneath an incandescent light, the print appears squiggled. I’m reminded that I need new glasses. It’s then the words of another Frost poem come to me, “The Road not Taken.”  With an electronic reader I could adjust the print and banish squiggles. Yes, if I had taken that road, it would have “made all the difference.”