Novelties

While reading Carr’s chapter entitled The Very Image of a Book, I began to feel nostalgic of the era when tablets, nooks, and kindles didn’t exist.

 tablets-montage

As an English major, I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a nerd. I was always the kid who got excited to go to the library so I could be surrounded by mounds and mounds of books. I loved the different bindings, textures, and even the smell of the pages. When I was in kindergarten, I would spend hours with a picture-less book in my hand pretending to read. For me, reading was always an experience in itself that involved not only sight, but touch.  With the advancement of E-books and tablets which do seem to have a certain appeal, books have been on the decline in the pursuit of publishing companies saving money while keeping up with the advancing age of technology. And while I am a product of the internet generation, I am not a fan.

There’s something to be said about picking up an old, tattered copy of a book like Walden by Henry David Thoreau and reading it in the midst of a summer sunset. The same goes for reading a leather bound novel like Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte on a rainy day. Or reading a book like The Fault In Our Stars by John Green and being able to witness your tears stain the page. You can physically feel the the book with your fingertips and experience the work in a way that is vastly different from reading it from behind a screen.

Sadly, I know that my love for printed books will have little impact on their future. By the time I have children, I fully expect books to become a novelty item, a category that now includes vinyl, cassette tapes, CDs, the Walkman, and DVDs.

Carr cites Walter Ong who insists that, “Writing and print and the computer are all ways of technologizing the word. And once technologized, the word cannot be de-technologized” (Carr 50). All of the mediums listed were taken over by something more flashy and efficient just as books will some day be.However, despite the push and pull towards the digital electronic future, there will always be aficionados, including myself, that refuse to let go of these novelty items.

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2 comments on “Novelties

  1. I am also an English major, and throughout high school if I were to read a book it was in ACTUAL book form. However, now that I am in college, I have noticed that I use my computer a lot more for everything, even for reading. I am not necessarily a fan of doing so, but it’s just so much more convent. Instead of going to the bookstore and buying the books I need for classes, I can find most of them for free online, and you can never pass up a free item nowadays. I do think it’s sad how our society is changing so much though. Eventually, books will be something of the past.

  2. I also find myself reading books online because they are much cheaper and easier to access. I just wish that there was a way to write margin notes and highlight passages which is another reason why I like to use physical books

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