Sunday, September 4, 2011

Likin' De Nook-e

"A book is magical; it transcends time and space." Daniel Boorstin

"Without an enthusiastic reader, a book would die." Henry Miller

Ah, books!

I have a small collection of small books. What is common among these cherished treasures, besides their size, is they are each bound in leather. The oldest is my American Ladies Pocket Book, published in 1825. The frontispiece features two ladies in fashionable gowns. Squeezed inside its few pages are a calendar, selected poetry and prose, songs, riddles, rebuses, enigmas, anagrams, marketing tables, and ruled pages for notations. Plus a pocket for money or perhaps rose petals or a love note. Some previous owner has penciled in several recipes.

The collection also includes four plays by Shakespeare, published in 1898, novels by Hermann Melville, William Makepeace Thackeray, and Sir Walter Scott; a collection of short stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne; two volumes of letters of Charles Lamb; a Book of Prayer; and Of the Imitation of Christ by Thomas Kempis.

Of course, I have more books I've collected: signed first editions of first novels of a number of authors whose works I love; Books given to me by author friends; Gold Medal paperbacks; random books I've enjoyed; some that showed up in the middle of the night. You know: Books! Lovely, lovely books!

And I don't know what I'd do without them even if I now own a Barnes & Noble Nook e-Reader.

My younger daughter decided since I was a writer and this was the 21st Century, I should ADD to my book reading proclivity the latest trend. She and her Dad gifted me with such this past June to celebrate my birthday.

I was polite and gleefully accepted. (What pushed me over the edge were the two gift cards!)

It's September now, and while I started off slow, and probably a bit hesitant if not resistant at first, I am now fully hooked. Reading seems faster, easier, and, dammit, just as fulfilling as reading a regular book.

Not that I have foresworn my leather-bound lovelies or my sweet-smelling pulpies, but Mama do be likin' de Nook-e!

My Nook library includes a variety of interesting works: novels and short story collections, and anthologies as well as books on writing. Plus, the jewel: the oeuvre of Guy de Maupassant!

(Oh, and several historical romance novels.)


They gave the first one to me free, they did, and, golly Molly, I'm finding Barbara Samuel and Miranda Neville can word-wrestle just fine and dandy, thank you very much. In short, I had a spankin' good time time reading, and isn't that what it's all about?

Or let me remind you:

"A book is magical; it transcends time and space." Daniel Boorstin

I said historical romances!

"Without an enthusiastic reader, a book would die." Henry Miller

Yup! I'm enthusiastic about... about... about those happy endings. And the manners. Yeah!

Truthfully, the women are strong women and the subjects have included breaking down sex, race, religious, and class barriers and prejudices. But with horses and swords and petticoats.

As for electronic reading, I've surrendered, but in a good way, I think. Words get to live on in this new form and the old form isn't dead at all.

Or as my dear Emily once wrote:

A Word is dead
When it is said
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live
That day.

And that's all we writers and readers should wish for: Readers reading.

Next up: An extra five minutes!

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