Tuesday, April 13, 2010

digression A

I'll get to part two in a minute....but I have to throw this thought out there first.
As I was driving to the bookstore this morning and spilling coffee over my skirt again ,because there is that bump just before the Ballard bridge that I always forget about , I thought: what if the kindle is to books what a nuclear bomb is to humanity? a bit negative I know, but I couldn't help letting the teasing self of me scare the wimpy self of me, and so I started writing this sci-fi novel in my head where,since books don't exist anymore, and we all depend on a screen for our reading, we might then as well try to get rid of all the primary activities of our existence that involve the use of our hands holding an object. Therefore, so it follows, that eating with fork and spoon, or spork (spoon and fork combined, I'm not kidding, they have it at my daughter's school lunch-room, why didn't the foon version of it make it?),would be inappropriate because it is substituted by a simple gesture of ingesting a pill full of proteins and vitamins (wait a minute, don't we do that already?), and what about holding that phone in your hand when you can have it attached to your ear? (hold on, that too is already in existance)...I can't bring up the example of writing letters cause that would fall into the category of the historical novel.
What will the act of looking at a book on a screen do to the act of holding a book in your hands? will we slowly drift towards a reality where reading a real book becomes as an obsolete act as writing letters to somebody? My opinion, and opinions are only opinions, is that ,what about those love letters? there's nothing that can replace them, you cannot write a love note via e-mail, or you could, but it would take so much warmth out of the message that you might as well leave a love message on an answering machine on your way to work. So,just as well, i don't think there is anything that can replace the act of holding that book in your hands ( or one hand if it is a paperback that one decides to wreck by bending it in two and having the front and back cover kiss, and making it instantly un-re-sellable, sorry, it's the merchant in me speaking now), unless we want to become so charged-batteries dependent.
I was having only a fraction of this conversation with a customer who was agreeing with me,but had to spoil it all by adding that her sister takes a full suitcase of books on vacation with her ,so a kindle would be good: why does her sister spend money on a vacation only to read is beyond me, but I refrained from demanding clarification, maybe reading Michener's Mexico in an expensive Cabo resort makes it a better read, and that is a thick book so thank you Mr Kindle, yes! the other question would be different plugging and electricity systems in order to maintain the device alive, but I think we can end the digression here.
ah ,one last thought goes to the fathers of Mr Kindle(digression B will be about why it is Mr Kindle and not Mrs Kindle) and the atomic bomb : why Mr Oppenheim decided to be the next Prometheus could become a long dissertation, by whom the Kindle was invented is clear: it must be somebody who suffers from mysophobia, fear of germs, never bought a used book ,and thought: the hell with the damn dirty things,I want to hold a clean screen instead!


  1. Weeeell, here I must disagree: it IS possible to write love mails instead of letters without loosing any warmth and depth.

    But for the kindle, I could not use it. I could never listen to a book, I have to touch a book, write my name on it, take possession of it, underline passages, write comments.

    I know the merchant in you won't like this, but that's also why I couldn't sell any of my books. However, and this you would like, I like to buy used books with marks and comments, it doesn't bother me at all, in fact it's like meeting the former reader in a way.

  2. Lo scenario che prospetti è veramente inquietante, viene da pensare che il caffè sia tracimato per lo spavento sulla tua gonna.
    Sarà perché non ho mai fatto caso al dosso prima del ponte di Ballard, o non sono così americano da guidare tenendo in mano l'imprescindibile gallone di brodo nero, ma questa esperienza mi manca.
    Eh... ma a leggere il tuo post mi vien da dire che si gioca pesante, tutti parlano di Kindle come un tempo del Larousse.
    Io che sono di cioccolata subito ho letto kinder e poi di corsa su wikipedia a capire di che si ragionassse.
    Ciò ti dimostra che uno zoccolo duro di arretrati, inattuali, o semplicemente imbranati gianduiotti, resiste e sì è fatto legare all'albero maestro come Ulisse.
    Sappi che nella nostra dichiarazione d’indipendenza coltello e forchetta avranno sempre identità separate, il cacao non potrà mai essere sostituito da una pillola e serviranno sempre un paio di mani, per scartarci, portarci alle labbra e gustarci fino in fondo.