"Nought may endure but Mutability." -Percy Bysshe Shelley

"Nought may endure but Mutability." -Percy Bysshe Shelley

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I'm not that old, but I'm old school.  I believe in family dinners, hanging sheets on the line, hand-me-downs, brown-bagging it and BOOKS.  Real books. 

My dad, (best daddy on the planet), read to me incessantly when I was a little girl.  As a result, I was an early reader and developed a deep love for books.  I would play teacher as a kid (not rock star or superhero), and had an extensive and impressive collection of children's literature on a long bookshelf under my windowsill in my bedroom.  

In 1979, when I was a 6-year-old kindergartener, the unthinkable happened.  I got grounded...from my books.  My parents cleared the bookshelves in my room, packed them into a Raggedy Ann clothes hamper and kept them from me for what seemed a painfully long time.

What kind of parents would take BOOKS away from their kid?  Mine.  Not because they advocated illiteracy and stupidity, but because they wanted to hit me where it hurt - the bookshelf.  What infraction could bring on such a lavishly cruel punishment you ask?  I had drawn political graffiti on the back inside cover of my Children's Dictionary.  It was a crude drawing of an airplane and a stick figure shouting "Hey you guys, release the hostages!"  Yes, that's right, I was lobbying for the release of the hostages in the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979. Go figure. 

All this shared here to establish my lifelong geekery and love of books.  I even turned it into a profession.  I am a professional nerd, a schoolmarm, a person who laughs at jokes about the various kinds of irony and uses words like "shenanigans", "rubbish", "hullabaloo" and "hooligan" in all seriousness when addressing my students (and children).

I love the smell of new books, the smell of old books, the secret pressed flowers and lost letters one can sometimes find in a tome bought at a yard sale.  I love the look of them on the shelf, arranging them sometimes by size, sometimes by author - oh the possibilities.

Perhaps that is why I agonized for months about whether or not to buy a Kindle.  What kind of new-fangled, fraudulent impostor is that for a book?  This is akin to my distrust of electronic calendars and my obsession with writing all my doings on a paper calendar planner.  You just can't replace books with electronic thingies and expect it to be the same.

But then I started doing my homework.  Reading reviews, doing highly scientific polls via Facebook with my friends, weighing the opinions of teachers against non-teachers.  Do you realize the Kindle is the same thickness as a PENCIL?  And can hold up to 3,500 books?  And the INK!  Amazon states that "Electronic ink screens work using ink, just like books and newspapers, but display the ink particles electronically."  

Actual ink moved around electronically?  What hath God wrought?  This is a step away from Jetsons stuff.  My research, coupled with my intense desire to carry around less crap at school, sealed the deal.  I marched myself to Target and bought one.  Yes, Target so that I wouldn't have to wait to play with it.  

Guess what?  It is pretty amazing.  I downloaded 16 books today, 13 of them for free.  I am going to kick it classical like never before.  I started one of the summer reading books today for the 12th graders and it was wonderful to use one hand to read and "flip pages" and wrangle a wiggling baby with the other hand.  I definitely think a mom can benefit from the one-handed operation feature of this incredible bit of technology.

Although I am very glad I made this decision, I will never give up real books and still prefer them (look, smell, feel, margins for jotting).  The Kindle is a great CHANGE I've been wanting to make and now I can check it off my proverbial hand-written list.  

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