The Joy of the Written Word

Yeah, you could say that in many ways, I’m an old-fashioned kind of gal. I mean, I like gadgets and I certainly know my way around the Internet, but I also treasure non-digital ways of communicating thoughts and ideas, like letters (the handwritten kind, though I’ll be the first person to admit that my handwriting has suffered in recent years) and books.

There is a huge difference between reading something on a screen or on paper. For one, I can never just relax in front of a monitor. I don’t like the scrolling a long essay requires, and the light-colored backgrounds really bother my floater after a while. Also, have you ever tried reading from a screen in bright sunlight? Hardly possible. And then there’s the slouching: how DO you curl up on the couch with your MacBook? My thoughts exactly.

Then there’s the experience of the book itself. The new book smell, the way virgin pages sometimes cling together. Or the joy of re-reading an old favorite, the moment you rediscover passages that moved you the first time around. I don’t get that from electronic text. Besides, if I only read stuff online, what would I do with all those great bookmarks people have given me over the years?

Last night after work I finally got to enjoy some late afternoon sunshine on my patio. I was out there, taking up both chairs, a glass of lemonade on the table next to me, and settled into chapter four of Isabel Allende’sThe House of the Spirits” (recommended by my mom). It didn’t take five minutes before I disappeared into the comfortable semi-light between the pages, that state where you’re not quite gone from the world, but definitely no longer completely in it. It’s then when you glance up that you catch yourself with that faraway look that signifies that you’re reluctant to leave the people and places between the pages behind just yet. I love that spaced out place. Yeah, maybe I’m a space cadet. 🙂 But anyway, that’s a state I just don’t get to reading from a screen.

A guy I was seeing once remarked: “What, you’re reading again?!”, as if that was a bad thing. I could have said “So what, you’re on the computer again.” But I didn’t. I just smiled and put my book aside. I’m old-fashioned there, too: I will make time for the people who are important to me. And perhaps I will later blog about the time we spent together. Because, ironically, as much as I dislike reading online, I certainly don’t mind writing online, even if it does lead to the ruination of my handwriting. Luckily, there’s people like you out there, who don’t mind coming here and subjecting themselves to my digital musings.

I’d like to know:

Who, how, or what do you like to read?

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