I was really excited watching the announcement for the launch of the new i-pad. Honestly, some of it was me just getting caught up in the hype. Apple is really good at that. But as an avid reader who is always buying books and hoarding books and storing books and trying to give books away and trying to decide what I should keep for future reading, the idea of being able to have all these books at my fingertips without a house-full of bookshelves was really appealing!
But I heard a conversation on the radio this morning, as the host mourned the impending i-pad and demise of the book. "How many times have you been sitting on a subway and seen someone reading a book? Maybe you see a book you read and loved and can start up a conversation with a stranger about a common love. Maybe you see something new and ask them how it is. Maybe you see something you've never seen and wonder if it might be of interest. Many times I have come to a new book simply by seeing someone else with it first. But with an i-pad, you'll never know what someone is reading."
That immediately hit home with me. One of my favourite "snooping" activities is to scan someone's bookshelf when I'm in their home. I think what a person reads can speak volumes about who they really are. So often we are presented with only one side of a person: for example, Emily is my church friend, Kathy is my music friend, Erin is my philosophy friend. We can talk for hours and hours with these friends, but usually only on a handful of subjects. But then I'm casually scanning a bookshelf and I see "War and Peace" and suddenly we're talking about a love of classics, or Russian culture. Or I see a book on using food as medicine and we launch into a debate on modern Western views on medicine and prevention.
An i-pad will eliminate one of my favourite secrets! Ah well, perhaps there will be a contingent of us who hang onto the hold way of the paperback book, reveling in the fanning of soft pages and turning down corners and marking up favourite passages. I wonder if there aren't some things that will be able to stand against technology?