I stopped reading fiction all together for about ten years. I also stopped reading nonfiction along the way and I have no idea why. Someone bought me a Kindle and I never realized it was easier to read on one of those devices. I started reading nonfiction again and sure enough, now I’m back to reading some fiction. I was once a voracious reader. I could devour an entire novel in a few days, a week at the most, if it wasn’t a great book. I read one of Anne Rice’s books, “Lasher” in a single day, but it wasn’t that good at all.
Because Kindle and other devices have taken over the world the state of bound books is in decline. Books, and good books in particular were once a little on the pricey side and I had to buy used books if I wanted to read. There was always some used book store stashed away in nearly every town, but these too will be shutting down soon. It’s an odd thing to think that the used book store will one day be no more. I wonder if anyone remembers the last Blacksmith shop in their town closing and what it meant.
I was once scolded when I was in the Army for “having too many books” and I knew right then and there I couldn’t stay. How can there be too m any books? Well, at one point in my life I gave away all my books and there were about three thousand of them. It was time to release them back into the wild, back into circulation again, to be read and loved again by someone new. The local library took them in and if just one of those books winds up being read by just one person and that person loves that one book as much as I did, I can die happy.
A culture isn’t truly evil until it starts burning books. Banning them is one step away from that. I have no idea how schools and churches are going to go about banning electronic books but sinister part of this is how easy and how quietly something like that can be done. With a press of a button someone can destroy “Catch 22” or “Lolita” or any other book on any device out there. “Fahrenheit 451” warned us about a society were books were burning on sight but we now are dealing with a world where a book could disappear without a match being struck or a sound being made.
I read “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” in 1976 when I was a freshman in High School. Everyone laughed at me for reading the series. An animated version of the book came out in 1979 and everyone loved it. Now, if they can only get “Dune” right.
“Dune” is that one book I will always have a copy of, somewhere. What about you? What book will always be on your desk?
Mike writes regularly at his site: The Hickory Head Hermit
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