What an intriguing day yesterday was…the end of days, no less.
December 22, 2012
Well, we’re all still here. No apocalypse. Bit of a fizzer, really…a little bit of excitement might have been good!
Even though the end was nigh, I set out to my local shopping centre because I thought of a great book as a Christmas present and it was too late to order it online.
I love books. I love bookshops, I love giving books as presents and I love people’s collection of books in their homes. I have some close friends who have wonderful libraries and whenever I visit them, I always spend some time looking through their books and generally borrowing one or two to read.
I found myself reeling in shock, however, when I saw that two of the big, reliable bookshops that had always resided at the shops, were gone. I literally had to walk from one end of the shopping centre to the other – ducking into Target/ Big W/ Myer (who do have books) looking for what I wanted, but to no avail. They only had a few aisles dedicated to ALL ages – half of what was on offer being cookbooks!
What I was left with was a sore knee and an indignation that ran deep.
It was depressing on two levels – 1) disappointed that I had nowhere to peruse. Perusing is the best, something that just can’t be done on-line and 2) a wonderful tradition is being bullied out.
I stated my frustration on my Facebook page and found the majority of comment-makers concurred with me, whilst others suggested I give electronic readers a try. I have heard this argument before from a few friends and respect their freedom of choice in reading that way – but besides them holding 1000 books, I can’t see the appeal.
That’s the ONLY positive point, right?
I like to flick – sometimes a page back – sometimes a few chapters back. How easy is that on a device? That’s actually a rhetorical question – I’m not here to be convinced to read off a screen. I just did that marking the HSC and it did my head (and eyes) in.
I humbly smile to e-readers and say that I don’t begrudge your preference of ‘keeping up with the times.’ I just don’t share your preference. And that’s dandy – but it seems my choice is being shunted aside for what some feel is ‘the way to go.’
Now for the great part of this tale.
I few posts ago – Physiology – I recounted the joy of receiving a set of Children’s Encyclopedia Britannicas from 1970. The same man who found those, brought me my Christmas present yesterday evening.
A book called, A Woman’s Thoughts about Women.
An original…from 1858.
Isn’t it magnificent?
Now I’m sure you’re wondering who it’s by. A woman, of course, but who?
Well, this is where I had to use the irreplaceable Internet to look up who penned this treasure, because her name isn’t mentioned anywhere in or on the book.
And the answer is?…Dinah Craik – an English novelist and poet. In this book she is only known as the author of her supposed best work, ‘John Halifax, Gentleman’ (1856). Interesting.
So, on this day when the world was to end, I found myself navigating (pendulum style) through this conflicted new-age world and how it reads and cherish books. From feeling quite glum about how decidedly books are being substituted with technology – to feeling elated (and it was elation) at receiving this rare and unique gem.
Yes, technology is a marvellous conduit for amazing things – it affords me the honour of being able to write – but…
Question #124: Does technology have to take over everything, just because it can?
I’ll be back soon with snippets from this book – I can’t wait to jump in a see through the eyes of a woman from 1858.
1858! So excited.