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Letter of the Week: Don't Burn Books Yet 

Thanks BJ Thomas for this week's letter, a nice meditation on the changing nature of the printed word in a digital society - something that we think about a lot around here. We too hope there's a future with good old-fashioned books and maybe even a few newspapers. And like BJ, we prefer a flashlight over a backlight any day. Meantime, BJ, you can pick up your winner's spoils, a bag of Strictly Organic coffee, at our office, 704 NW Georgia.

So I'm reading in the national news today that now, in addition to Kindle (shudder) trying to change how people think they read books, there is a new technology designed to insert visuals of what is being read - an awful creation referred to as a "Vook."


Oh Dear Lord!!!

The whole idea of reading a fiction book - one of those hard (or soft) cover bound stack of papers - is to devour words and imagine. Create places, people and circumstances and think for YOURSELF - not, for goodness sake, to have someone else do it for you. You might as well go watch something brainless on TV.

I would imagine that there are thousands of ideas as to what Jane Eyre might have looked like. Or some of the Shakespeare characters. Don Quixote. The Count of Monte Cristo. Nancy Drew - even the heroines of Danielle Steele novels. If you let someone create a video of that character, doesn't it lose some of the excitement of the written word?

I am a book lover. I have friends who are book lovers. All of my sisters, and my children are lovers of REAL books. The ones you can curl up in bed with, or under a tree, or on the sofa on a rainy day. Bend down the corners, lightly mark with a pencil; inhale the fragrance of the printed page. Does a Kindle have a fragrance? Can you hide it under the covers with a flashlight to read deep into the night? It has been hinted that I have too many books. Ummm... You can never have TOO MANY BOOKS!!

There is a poignant story by Oregon writer M.K.Wren, A Gift From The Shore. After the Holocaust two women, in their search for survival, dip found books in wax to preserve them for the future, and store them in a cave on the Oregon coast. Fiction? Or not?

I am reasonable about my books. History, reference, inspiration - not so many novels. But what I have is all REAL paper. And, I must confess, I still have some of my storybooks from my childhood.

Technology is OK to a point. However, we have lost the art of handwriting, texting and IM has shortened communication to a staccato stream. Let's not lose the enjoyment of real, honest to goodness books!


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