Friday, July 08, 2011

 
TWAIN ON A ZOOK

Talking to a book-loving friend this morning about the gradual disappearance of physical books, and how infants today, growing up into an increasingly bookless world, may learn to read from a kindle or a nook, dook, fook, hook, kook, mook, zook or whatever comes after, and for their children it may be implants.

They'll never learn to love the promise in the heft of a book, portending the words, thoughts and adventures within; they'll never learn to love the scent of pages or the thrill of an entire library-- no exploring the stacks, no class visit to learn about books and how to use the card catalog-- the Dewey Decimal system will go the way of the pen, and cursive writing's ancient grace will have no place in their minds, as is happening already. It may all be MacWisdom by then, with one day the entire politically and academically corrected canon implanted at birth, science fictionally speaking. [There may come trolls who say that life is grate witout reeding or riting we got lots of time for other stuf an joystiks to]

And judging from what is considered worthy reading matter these days, comes the correction of Huck Finn, the dumbdowning of Gatsby, the dispassionate writing-class flavor of modern LitFic and all that will follow as the word bends over backward to accommodate the loss of education that schooling is becoming, I realized that I may well have the largest genuine library on the mountainside... I certainly have the largest English library on the mountainside, maybe in all of Shiga Prefecture...

Until recently it has been a problem for me, what to do with all these books, but now that there are Nooks and the like, which I will not use for hefty mindstuff; maybe a mystery for the train, but I will never read Fyodor Dostoevsky on a Pook or Mark Twain on a Zook, are you kidding me? Some literary efforts and their life-passions require the heft of deep respect; there is something karmic going on here, after all, there is more to books than pixels...

So rather than continue to be burdened as before by the mass of my own tomes, I now realize that my home has become a cultural repository against the looming loss of calligraphy-driven writing, much like the stone cloisters of the Dark Ages, when books were known, scribed and saved from the dark by a passionate few as treasures for the future, when they would be needed. So for you folks centuries hence who can still read and have somehow found this blog, up in that ruin on the mountain you can find Mark in the original.

6 comments:

Tabor said...

Certainly a conundrum for me when I got a Kindle as a gift and then a week later bought the complete works of Samuel Clemens at the big box store. Reading both at the same time...and trying to accept the differences as part of life. I am sure the farmers wondered the same at sunset when electricity arrived followed by the news on TV. No more learning what happened in the country by visiting the local store.

madpotter1 said...

As someone who did not read a book until I was in my 30's due to a short circuit in the old brain. You cannot imagine the joy when I discovered books on tape and then CD and now digital.

The computer has helped me tap into worlds beyond my belief and am so joyful to live now and be happy for the technology.

kenju said...

I agree with you. I got Cruz reader as a gift, and downloaded some older (and therefore free) books. I enjoy reading on it, but the book I am now reading for my book club is not handy on the Cruz, meaning that I can't take notes without a lot of writing, I can't mark pages and it is cumbersome to go back and re-read a chapter. I love marking a book and noting page numbers in the rear pages.

catmomaj said...

You speak for so many of us. Perhaps it is best I will not live long enough to see the end of the printed page, or the beauty of a hand written note in flowing cursive. The scent of a leather bound book or a sinple paperback. What a loss for civilization that will be!

Mary Lou said...

I will always be grateful for the books I had when I was a child. ANd the LIBRARY! oh my WHat a place. I grew up withour television, and every night I would lay down behind the sofa, in front of the bookcase and READ! I read everything I could get my hands on.

I too have a Kindle that I got as a gift, and while it is good for reading mind-candy, there is NOTHING like a good book to curl up with on a cold winter's day! THe Kindle is too.....21stcentury!

Robert Brady said...

The scent of a book, the feel of a book, the sound and heft of it, the secrets of its leaves-- Borders just closed all its stores, which makes me thankful for all the actual books I have, that until not long ago seemed a burden...