Paperback Reader

I’m gorging on spy novels like a two tonne shark at a Vegas seafood buffet.  I just can’t put the books down – le Carré, Fleming, Deighton, Cleveland, Matthews, McCarry and the list goes on.  There is nothing better than escape fiction in a backyard hammock as you watch the summer clouds float by. It’s like television without the glare and brain rot.

However the incredible part of this extreme pleasure is that I bought my latest spy novel as a paperback.  What a novelty.  I’ve been using an e-reader for the past five years, so it’s the paper form that’s became nouveau for me. Many years ago, the e-book was the novelty as all new technology is (remember Facebook before Zuckerberg’s head exploded).  Quite the reversal. Now paper is cool.  Can I even say retro?  Oh my God, am I going to grow a beard, crop my hair short and wear orange glasses? “Holy android grandpa, you had books made of paper?  Did a lot of people read paper books in your days? Well yes, Sonny and they even left their house and went to a place called a bookstore to buy these ancient relics.  Grandpa,  what’s a store?”

I don’t think I’m going back to paper for ever, but it’s a welcome change.  Maybe paper belongs in the summer – dog-eared pages, easy reading topics and the cover sun bleached and faded. So romantic.  Is that what paperbacks have become?  A romantic novelty.   It was very pleasing to step inside a bookstore (another romantic notion?), grab a book and feel the weight of it in my hand.  And then read the first paragraph and judge whether the words will make a great bed partner for the next three weeks (then toss it to a friend for another spin). The bookstore has an added feature – humans who speak and answer questions, “Did you like this book? I ask. ” Although the only response I got was, “What do I care? My job maybe gone tomorrow.”

It was also nice reading the praises from various authors on how fantastic the book is.   However, it didn’t really help – the book isn’t really all that great (but I’m still gobbling it up).  It might have been better if I went online before I purchased the book and read what people who’ve actually read the  book thought about it. The cover hype was just that hyperbolic marketing trash which worked. Sold to the man in the plaid shirt with orange glasses. Hype is not so easy to do when you have thousands of responses from savvy readers and they give honest not paid opinions.  Perhaps the best feature for buying online. However like any review online, there are too many opinions, making any decision difficult. “I couldn’t get past the first page every time I tried to read the book. It was about wife who tries to murder her husband by putting sleeping pills in his bed time milk.”

Am I going back to paper for ever? Nah. There are too many environmental issues with paper – mainly you need to kill things to make a copy. Digital is death free. But the actual experience of buying a book – going to the store, talking to someone and feeling the pages between your fingers is hard to beat. Is it just a short walk before the paperback dies like VHS or CDs? On that note, does anyone need a six disk carousel CD player?


Thanks to achieve a better life for the graphic


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