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Date Posted: 05/01/05 Sun
Although I am the arch-Treonaut, I am afraid that when it comes to books, I am as Luddite as they come.
I collected books from a very early age (5 years old!). They were my preferred gift for birthdays and Christmas. I haunted the lamented Schiller's Books in the Garden State Plaza, so I would be able to plan my gift requests ahead of time. Alfred Hitchcock's collections of spooky stories for young readers, Verne, Asimov...but especially, books on movies. I had a collection of over 200 books on specific actors, directors, studios, genres, etc. All told, I had close to 1000 books, which were lost in a fire when I was 31 years old (along with most of my other possessions).
When you have immersed yourself in the smell of a crisp, new book, run your hand down the spine of a hardcover (a real luxury back then!), or caressed the earmarked pages of a favorite book that you fall in love with all over again...
when you have done those things, you know that a book is more then the words and story...it is the tactile relationship you have with it and its fellows on your shelves. When you have done that, there is something simply too cold and impersonal about an eBook.
I now haunt old/used book stores, hoping to come across a copy of one of my poor friends...no matter what the condition. Often I leave empty-handed; but, sometimes...
2 weeks ago I found a copy of 'Alfred Hitchcock's Haunted Houseful'...original publication hardcover from the early 1960's, in very good condition. Not only was it one of my favorites, it has been out of print since the 1970's.
Last week, I made a gift of it to my son, and had the extreme pleasure of introducing him to 'The Water Ghost of Harrowby Hall' (brrrrrrrr!). He held the book, marveled at the eerie cover illustration, and the illustrations for each story. Then, he handed it back, and I read to him.
I'm sorry...an eBook will never be able to provide such a firm bond between people as does the physical presence of a book.
OK...I'm off the bloody nostalgia train!
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