I’ve been away from the keyboard for a while. Although it’s spring break I’ve been swamped with work–mostly grading–and keeping up with the kids. I’m hoping to get back to some more regular posting in the next day or so, although I’ve also got a couple of conferences coming up. Never ending. I sometimes wonder if dedicated bloggers actually have real lives. Maybe they aren’t real people. Maybe they are committees that work feverishly to put stuff together.
Still, thought I’d just call attention to Rachel Leow’s newest editions of Bookporn (#28 & 29)over at a historian’s craft. I’ve said several times before how much I love these studies in books, so there’s not much more than I can say.
I’m not sure I like these quite as much as some in the past, but I really do enjoy her study of the blue pipes winding their way through and around the Seminary Co-op Bookstore at the University of Chicago. I get a weird feeling of zen peace just contemplating these books molding themselves in to every nook and cranny of a building. Of course, in some of my other ruminations on e-books, this is not so much a thing of beauty but a sign of waste. So far in my engagement with e-books, this seems to be the biggest selling point for those who are their aficionados: efficiency. Especially storage efficiency. All those books are so…well…so wasteful. So much neater to have 400 books stored on my Kindle than have 400 books littering my room. Hmmm…something there is in me that says they just don’t get it. The sign of knowledge is a man or woman nearly lost in a labyrinth of books.
I can’t imagine reading a book without touching the paper to turn a page. Reading is/should be a kinesthetic experience. Can you imagine reading without jotting in the margins? E-books are too passive for me, or maybe I’m just too old for that revolution.
For me there’s something almost mystifyingly powerful in holding a book in my hands. I’m ingesting the words; why not smell the flavor of the pages? E-books have never particularly tempted me, particularly because to read an e-book I have to sit for hours in front of my computer. With a book I’m outside, I’m engaged, connected to two worlds simultaneously; the world that surrounds me and fades forever into the horizons of my experience, and the world I somehow hold in my hands, that still manages to wrap itself around me for those times I spend within its grasp. And to mirror Monda, I can hardly imagine reading without also thinking of writing; writing thoughts and questions in the margins to inform later readings, jotting down inspired thoughts for future writings, leaving behind touches of me to go along with the words of the author for future readers, etc.