Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Book is a Book is a Book….

“Aren’t you packing your NooK” Mama Wordbones asked as we got ready for our recent trip. She had given me the Nook for Christmas.

I told her I had just started reading what some now refer to as a “tree” book. My sister Pat sent me “Matterhorn” by Karl Marlantes for my birthday at the end of January. When it arrived I was already about midway through “The Big Short,” by Michael Lewis, my very first eBook. It's a tale about a few investors who figured out the absurdity of sub-prime mortgage underwriting and made a boatload betting against conventional wisdom.

I put Matterhorn on deck until around mid February. It’s a big book, 566 pages. By the time we were ready to leave for Curacao, I was only about a third of the way through.

And so I left my shiny new eReader back home while tree book made the trip. I can’t tell you what it is like to read an eBook on the beach, by the pool, and on the plane. I did enjoy a moment of smugness with old tree book when passengers were instructed to turn off their electronic devices. It was a guilty pleasure though. There but for the grace of literary timing I would have been one of them.

Then there’s the security thing. I thought nothing of leaving tree book on a beach lounge whilst I wandered off for a beer. I doubt I’d feel as cavalier about leaving my Nook lying about. I’d probably take it everywhere with me.

Just like this guy.
Anyway, I wrapped up Matterhorn on the flight home. It was the best book I’ve read about the Vietnam war since reading “A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam,” by Neil Sheehan. If you have an interest in that conflict I highly recommend both of these.

Ignoring the two tree books awaiting on my night stand, I instead find myself trolling the Nook bookstore for my next read. The bottom line is that reading a book on an eReader is just better, in most situations. Reading a book on my Nook is a treat for my eyes. The lighting is always perfect, just right for me and I never lose my place. I flew through The Big Short, flipping pages with my finger, never having them flap back.

I’ll still read tree books of course. A book is a book is a book after all. There are two of them sitting next to my bed that will beckon me back to the good old days.

It could be awhile though. I downloaded a free sample of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” by Stieg Larssen. It’s the first 76 pages of the book. I’m on page fifty something. I feel the hook gently sinking in.
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