Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Real Thing

Today I went to the first bookstore I've been to in a very long time. My town doesn't have a book store so it's been a while. I was instantly like an excited little kid again who lived with the house rule "you can always buy books." I'd pick up books and show them to my boyfriend and say, "Have you read this one? It's so so good and you should try it" and then see something else to smell and remember. I still read a lot of books, but since the books I read are not the kind you buy in the bookstore it made me reminiscent of younger days. It made me want to hold a book in my hands even though I couldn't actually read that font. Children's books have really big font that I miss. When I take young adult literature next semester I am going to revel in the large font, paper pages, and nice bindings, but that's not the only way to read.

Since the sixth grade when I was confirmed by the State of New York to be visually impaired I've been given every book as either an audiobook or an ebook and I haven't read much that is actually words printed on pages constricted by a binding. I still own many books, but most of my reading is done on my computer and kindle. I have some friends who insist that the only way to love stories and reading is to have a massive library of paperbacks while I simply disagree. I get an ecstatic joy upon entering libraries and bookstores, but I think that those who dismiss readers for using alternate formats are being extremely unfair. I've talked about this before, but it's immensely important to me that people realize that books are not action figures. They aren't meant to be collected in order to live on a shelf as conversation starters and furniture. Books belong to their readers. They are about being used and shared and understood. I get irritated at humans and memes that devalue literature as only existing in paperbacks. It's simply untrue. If you can use the story or knowledge you gleaned from a book in your life then it is valuable whether or not you read the words off a page in sequence and then stored it in your house.

Sometimes the real thing isn't even better. My feelings about video games are almost identical. I don't need a disk as long as I can play the game. Steam (a service that has 2,000 games and 4,000,000 gamers) stores your data, gives you achievements, and allows you to talk to your friends while you play. I don't need the boxes on my shelf to get enjoyment out of a game in the same way that I don't need the books on my desk in order to have the story. I think people partly collect these things to show off their geekiness. Maybe they had them anyway, but it strikes me as a badge of onor to have a library in your house. It screams, "look how intelligent I am." I don't need it. My kindle and I are going to take on the world.

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