Guest Eleanor Brown on
An Open Letter to My Books

Guest Eleanor Brown on
An Open Letter to My Books

[As much as we love to read, visit libraries, and browse bookstores, who knew there would come a day when how to read would cause a moral dilemma? In today’s guest post, Eleanor Brown (The Weird Sisters coming January 20, 2011) shares a heartfelt confession and offers a compromise to her true love.]

An Open Letter to My Books

Dear Books:

I’ll admit it. I’ve been cheating on you.

No, it’s not with that disturbingly large television we just bought (frankly, it kind of creeps me out, what with the HD making everyone’s pores visible – I just don’t feel I want to be that close to anyone unless we’re kissing).

It’s with e-reader.

I know, I know, when I first met e-reader, I was underwhelmed. The pages took too long to turn, I couldn’t really fall into the story, it just didn’t feel right.

And then I decided to re-read one of my favorite books on it. And I fell in love. It turns out that the device hadn’t been the problem to begin with, it was the content. It wasn’t the medium, but the message.

The thing is, Books, you’re still special to me. We’ve got a history, you know? But I can’t take you everywhere – I always have to factor your size into any purse shopping I do. When i go on vacation, you selfishly take up half my suitcase, and often cost me money in overweight fees at the airport.

I do love you, Books, I do. You’re easier to use than my cell phone, you’re better-looking than e-reader, and you hold the stories I want to read. And heaven knows I buy enough of you – I don’t think there’s any danger of the bookstore down the street going out of business while I’m around.

But why can’t I search inside you by keyword when I’m trying to write a book review or find a glorious sentence I remember? And why don’t you just appear on my bedside table, waiting for me when I finish the one before you? Why can’t I lie on my side and flip the pages with one hand while I read the way I can with e-reader?

And why, when I’m done with you, don’t you just go away? I’ve got to find something to do with you, and there’s never enough room. And you look kind of messy when there are too many of you, you know?

Listen, Books, I don’t want to break it off entirely. We’ve got a lot in common, you and me. You like to hang out in bookstores, and so do I. We both hate waiting in line, but you definitely make the time go faster. You never run out of batteries, you’re good-looking, you invite conversation when we’re out in public together, and we’ve been together a long, long time. We’ve got good memories, and I can’t just let you go.

So, what do you say, Books? Are you willing to open this relationship up a little? You, me, and e-reader? There’s enough room in my heart for both of you.

I promise, you’ll always be my first love.


* * * * *

Book Giveaway: For those readers who have Kindles, The Divining Wand will honor the first 10 comments — left on this specific post, Dee DeTarsio and The Scent of Jade, until Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. EST. — with a download of The Scent of Jade.

13 thoughts on “
Guest Eleanor Brown on
An Open Letter to My Books

  1. I live in Germany and using my Kindle has enabled me to find, buy, and read books more easily. I used to wait days to get a book in English. Now I wait seconds. But I’ll never take books out of my life completely just like I have both online and face-to-face friends.

  2. @Dee – So glad you agree!

    @Kim – GREAT point that I’d never thought about – accessibility of foreign language texts is a huge bonus!

    @Kristan – It’s true! Books thought we’d be together forever…and now I want to see other reading devices. Poor books.

  3. I see the appeal of ereaders, really I do. I downloaded the Kindle app to my iPhone but haven’t used it yet. I get a headache if I stare at a screen too long. That’s my reason for sticking with books, for now, anyway!

  4. Great post! (Don’t enter me, I don’t have a Kindle–Can’t decide whether I’m a techno-phobe or enduringly faithful to my first love.) But this did point out some highlights I’m certainly missing and was great to read! Cheers, Eleanor!

  5. @Keetha – Reading on an actual e-reader is very different from reading on a backlit screen like a phone or a computer. I’m the same way about headaches, but it doesn’t happen on my e-reader because it’s not the same kind of screen.

    @Kate – There are definite benefits to both – there are times when I can’t believe I still read physical books, and times when I desperately want to read a physical book. I will say it has changed my traveling life for sure – so much lighter!

  6. I just love this! I have to say, though, I am very stubborn about leaving my beautifully bound books behind….ever. When the Sony ereader first came out I was so excited and got one for my birthday. Then I stared at it. Then I stared at my book piles around the house. Every time I went to read something on my ereader I went back to the piles and lovingly picked one of those up. I just can’t let them go, not even for a minute! I know it is sad, but it is true. They have such beautiful covers, smell all dusty (for older books) and good and I just love the weight of them. I also shop for purses with book size in mind and am beginning to drive my husband crazy with tall towers of books around the bedroom (as well as on many many many bookshelves around the house). My ereader just sits on the shelf…glaring at me. So sad!

  7. I feel the same way about my books vs. eReader! I got the Sony for Christmas and wasn’t sure how we would feel about one another, but I love it, and now I’m cheating on my books. So far I read one on the Reader, and then alternate with reading one read book, so that nobody feels left out. Both are great, and I hope that they will agree to co-exist in my house!

    I love the Sony’s eInk technology (no hurting my eyes!) but I wish that I could take it in the bathtub with me. 🙂

  8. Colleen – If your books make you happy, you should definitely hang on to them! But I will say that traveling with an e-reader is HEAVEN. So many books, so little weight…

    Jonita – That’s what I do too! But I take my e-reader in the tub. And the swimming pool. Is that bad?

    Kilmiquix – Tell them I say hello!

    Elise – You bet! But doesn’t that backlight drive you crazy?

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