Saturday, September 25, 2010

Real Books

Maybe I've reached the point in my life where I start being "old fashioned". If I had children, they would probably be embarrassed by my backwards, yesteryear ways. I would be so uncool in their eyes.

But here's the solid honest-to-God truth: Life as we know it is just becoming too damn "virtual". Too many real things are being replaced by fake impostors, electronic representations of authenticity. That, combined with the lack of procreation control, defines the end of Humanity, and the end of the planet we live on, but let's scrape this iceberg away a millimeter at a time.

Today I'm bitching about present-day literature, actual, physical BOOKS, and ... "things" (for lack of a better word) like the Nook and the iPad.

The book is becoming a virtual thing. I never thought I would live to see it happen in my very own lifetime, but here it is, becoming. It's sad, it's pathetic, it's predictable, it's a crime against Humanity.

And it's ruining the publishing industry. It's ruining our education. It's ruining our intellect. It's ruining everything related to books, reading, and learning.

And all I really wanted to do was blog about To Kill A Mockingbird!! Here's what I get for drinking before 4:00pm.

Anyway, as anyone with half a brain knows, nothing significantly worth reading has been published in quite a very long time. The plague that brought the recording industry to its death has finally found it's sleazy way to the publishing company. Anyone can write. Anyone can publish. Anyone can read. (careful, Kurt, careful...)

What am I trying to say? What I am trying to say is... Nothing beats real paper. Nothing beats real binding. You can't hold an electronic device that's a rough 1/4" thick and expect to experience Les Miserables the way anyone who's read the actualy physical BOOK has read it. Its very weight as an object ads to the experience. The process of printing, the font, the cover design (no, you cannot judge a book by it's cover - but yes, you can appreciate fine art craftsmanship!), the kind of paper, the texture of the paper, the quality of the binding itself, none of this you get in a Nook-like device. There is most definitely something to be said for a beautifully made BOOK. When you read an amazing story that feels amazing in your hands and beholds amazingly in your eyes, nothing else matters!


There's something in all of this that I'm just not able to communicate here. But if you have half a brain then you should be able to piece all this together and guess what I am getting at.

I am reading To Kill A Mockingbird right now. I haven't read it since that grade school class a very long time ago, when I was required to read it. Now that I am not required to read it, now that I've got more life in me and more brain cells filled up and wasted, I can finally appreciate this book for what it is - pure genius.

What can I say? I'm not articulate and I am lazy. But walk into any bookstore right now and all you see are teenage vampires, two dimensional crime mysteries and a whole lotta crap. I can't remember the last new piece of fiction I read and thought, "This is destined to become a classic."

And maybe my memory just sucks. But that's how I feel.

So I've decided to stop all this nonsense, and go back to all the classics. In these books, in these REAL BOOKS, written by REAL AUTHORS, with REAL PURPOSE, I find my own REAL HUMANITY.

Leather binding. Black ink on white paper. The smell. The touch. The weight. The story. The imagination. For now on, only the classics for me. I am a hard core bibliophile, and proud of it.