I feel sick. How can a computer compare to that earthy smell of books? The way they feel in your hands?
For many people, they function very well.
Books, as printed paper objects, are not the essential thing. The physical act of reading isn’t even…
I was born with optic nerve atrophy and have had trouble seeing my whole life. It’s only gotten worse, and, over the last five years or so, I’ve basically lost my ability to read “real” books with “normal” text sizes. I could use a magnifying glass, but that’s a huge hassle that gives me a roaring headache. I could use a CCTV video magnifier but those cost a few grand and provide the only action in my life that’s ever given me motion sickness.
That’s left me with my computer. I’ve got Firefox all sorts of jacked up so I can see everything I need to see, read everything I need to read, and interact on Twitter or what-have-you. Nobody really knows I’ve got eyesight as bad as I do, certainly not online, and most times not even in the “real world”—until they see me squint at something held an inch from my face. I can read books on my computer, which I’ve done for years, even before my eyesight worsened, thanks to Project Gutenberg, and which opened up immensely with the hard-scraped purchase of a Windows 8 PC and the Kindle and Comixology apps.
Oh, comics. Yeah, I can’t read those any more, not even a little bit. Not the ones I learned to read with as a tiny child, not the ones I read as a teenager, and certainly not the ones being published now. I’ve pirated my share of comics over the years, but Comixology gives me a legitimate way to buy comics so I don’t feel like a jackass and a thief. (Monkeybrain’s being the only comics worth buying is another rant entirely.)
And, finally, I got a Nook Simple Touch very cheaply on Cyber Monday. Since then I’ve read a book and a half, which is more than I’ve read in about five years. I can borrow books from our great local library system. All my downtime used to be spent reading; waiting for doctors, work breaks, lunch breaks, riding the bus. And I’d forgotten that. I felt like myself again.
Holding and smelling books is fine but it’s worthless if you can’t read ‘em.