You can feel it. In your hands. Your eyes don’t narrow down into comic-book style slits to catch a word, a letter, a line. The light isn’t buzzing in your face, tempting your tiny toddler to wake up. And then there’s that something that you can’t really define.
I have tried it many ways, many times. To take my reading electronic. My writing mostly is, though I still keep journals, too many to keep up with. Three for my baby, one for myself, a writer’s journal of words, one of catch phrases, a different one of advice. I once tried to take my journaling online, as well as my newspaper-reading, and my actual reading. I could never get into reading the paper online, though I do read articles there when I come across them.
The Kindle app sits on my larger-than-average cell phone (don’t be jealous, I have the Samsung S5) and I have several books ready and waiting to be finished. And by god, that thing is convenient. I already take it everywhere. No mental note to bring a book in case you have to wait. It fits in my purse, my pocket, my car, my briefcase. I can grab five books, even ten at a time, without lifting more than a palm.
But, it isn’t the same. I’m not motivated to get through pages on an e-reader, for whatever reason. I have friends who read more on a Kindle than they do in paper, but I’m not one of those people.
Yesterday, for whatever reason, I picked up one of the many books sitting on my dresser (my stand-in bookshelf as we wait for our house, and more space, to become available) and took it to work. It’s thick and heavy and hardcover. And beautiful, so beautiful I don’t want to take it around food or my salivating little boy. It made my briefcase twice as heavy, which pulled on my shoulder when I slung it there on my way out the door.
Then, a few hours later, I took it with me–the whole damn thing, bag and all–to a lunch of fancy ramen across the street from my office. I found a high table and a stool, grabbed a pitcher of cucumber water, and sat down to read. But it wasn’t like a walk through Japanese gardens, where you stop and meditate and thank the world for existing and putting things like this in it. No, I just opened the book and began to read. Yet it was an experience I felt in my mind, my fingertips, whatever this soul thing is. It calmed me down from head to toe, my eyebrows relaxed, my skin loosened, and I forgot where I was. This is why I read.
Dirty Love, Andre Dubus. I’m already hooked.